Transit Transformers Working Hard to Build a Better Transportation System in LA

We had a really, really good time at our Spring Forward LA event in March 2021, when we honored the leaders in business, organized labor, government and the nonprofit world who have worked with us on Measures R and M and so many other issues since 2008! We call them “Transit Transformers”: Metro CEO Phil Washington, former Duarte Mayor and former Metro Boardmember John Fasana, Long Beach Mayor and former Metro Boardmember Robert Garcia, LA County Business Federation (BizFed) CEO Tracy Hernandez, Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 300 Business Manager Sergio Rascon, LA Business Council (LABC) President Mary Leslie, and Skanska USA Executive Vice President Mike Aparicio.

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This event booklet includes interviews we conducted with these seven honorees, as well as twitter “shout outs” to the sponsors who have also been essential to our success over 13 years. We are so grateful for your support! And let’s be honest—we also staged this event because we felt the need for a little “pick me up.” 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, but spring has come and with it renewed hope for the future of LA County, California, and the rest of the world! READ THE BOOKLET HERE.

And we have much more work to do . . . 

This past year we learned so many important lessons, especially the understanding that if we don’t come together to meet the challenges in front of us—even if, as with the coronavirus, these challenges demand bold and transformative change—we will not have the future to which we aspire. This is particularly true for Black, Indigenous and People of Color who continue to suffer the most from the pandemic and the recession that has followed it, and the affordable housing crisis that has forced so many people to live on the street. 

We must make a concerted effort to “Build Back Better” by addressing the challenges in our future: from curbing climate change to the need to build more affordable housing to the public health hazard of dirty air to rescuing public transit and our transportation system as a whole. 

Move LA is proud to have had more than a decade of success building broad-based coalitions to advocate for the bold strategies that are needed. And we are grateful that we have won the support of major business and philanthropic donors. 

Thank you all! 


Students: Join us for a Zoom call May 18 & at the Metro Board on May 27!

On May 18, from 4-5 p.m., we invite community college students (and college staff) to join a Zoom call to talk about how we can convince the Metro Board of Directors to say YES to fareless transit for all low-income bus and rail riders, all community college students, and all K-12 students in LA County—by the end of the year!

The Metro Board votes whether to proceed with a “Fareless System Initiative” pilot project—that includes all community college students—on Thursday, May 27, and we also encourage you to call in to the meeting to provide public comment when it begins at 10 a.m. Speakers are only allowed one minute—that's about 130 words—so it’s easy! 

It will be very important to have students speak up from as many community colleges as possible to win the support of board members representing different parts of LA County.

Register here to join us from 4-5 p.m. on May 18 to talk more about the fareless pilot and about how to call in to the Metro Board of Directors meeting on May 27.

A majority of board members appear to be supportive of fareless bus and rail transit, though some have concerns about the cost. Federal legislation has been introduced that could help support Metro's fareless program if the bill becomes law: the Pressley-Markey “Freedom to Move Act” states that public transit should be considered a “public good” and be fare-free. (Data shows low-income families spend nearly 30% of household income on transportation expenses.) 

Please join us on May 18 to learn more about what we can do, and please consider calling in to Metro on May 27 to tell board members why fareless bus and rail is important to you and why the board should vote YES on the Fareless System Initiative pilot project.

Save the date, May 18, 4-5 p.m., for a short conversation with special guests and other community college students! Register here.


Recap: Is Transit a Solution to Our Climate & Public Health Crises?



On the eve of Earth Day, we convened a panel of experts from the business, government, and nonprofit sectors for a very Move LA discussion on improving mobility and health through innovative transit technologies. Joining us will be leaders from Circuit, Edison, LADOT, L.A. Care Health Plan, LADWP, Metro, P3 Innovation Center, SoCalGas, and Tranzito who will share innovative pilots and models that will help us achieve our climate and public health goals in LA County (and beyond). Watch the full program on YouTube and then check out the resources provided by each of the speakers including research, videos, presentations, and more.


Action Alert: Tell Metro to Include ALL Community College students in the Fareless Transit System Initiative

On Thursday the Metro Board of Directors will hear a report about the feasibility of providing fare-free transit passes to all low-income residents of LA County (about 70% of all riders) as well as K-12 students from the LA Unified School District, starting in January 2022 and August 2022 respectively.

But last week Metro's Executive Management Committee discussed the possibility of making all community college students fare-free since 75% are low-income, and including the other 25% would not cost that much more. It would also relieve colleges, as well as Metro, of the burden of determining who is low-income and who is not.

We absolutely need support from students—and/or faculty, trustees, staff and other advocates—to make this happen. It's easy, since public comment is at the beginning of the meeting and only 1 minute of public comment is allowed per person. Instructions on how to join are below, followed by more information about Metro's proposal to make fares free—called the Fareless System Initiative or FSI.

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39 California Environmental, Environmental Justice, Transit Rider, and Labor Organizations Call on Congress to Increase Funding for Public Transit

On Earth Day, 39 California Environmental, Environmental Justice, Transit Rider, and Labor Organizations Call on Congress to Increase Funding for Public Transit

Frequent and reliable public transit is critical to reducing reliance on carbon-emitting cars and trucks, while also boosting economies and promoting racial justice

LOS ANGELES, CA -- Today, in recognition of Earth Day, 39 organizations representing environmental, transit rider, business, social justice, and organized labor groups sent a letter to the California congressional delegation urging them to increase federal investments in public transit “so that all Americans have access to high-quality, safe, affordable, and reliable public transit service and transit-friendly communities.” 

“Reinventing the future of public transit infrastructure is key to tackling climate change,” the letter reads. “Over 28 percent of greenhouse gases in the U.S. come from transportation, making it the largest contributor of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. In California, more than 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from the transportation and oil and gas sectors. Now is the time to invest in the public transit infrastructure for the future.”

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Join us Wednesday to Talk About Marrying New Technology with “Old School” Transit & Air Quality Solutions

Last year, as we sheltered at home, many of us noticed that for a few weeks the skies were clear, the birds could be heard chirping, and the weather was mild. Many of us knew this respite would not last, and we also know what needs to be done in order for us to live sustainably, reduce transportation emissions, and achieve not just good but great air quality.

Join us next Wednesday, April 21, at 11 am to discuss innovative pilots and projects in SoCal that marry new technology with “old school” transit and air quality solutions that could help bring the clear skies and chirping birds back even when we are not sheltering at home.

We are pleased to host 13 guests who will talk about their work and answer your questions. And we are pleased to also honor Dr. William Burke, who is retiring as Chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD).

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Is Transit Part of the Solution to Our Climate & Public Health Crises?

While many are speculating about the future of public transit in the post-COVID world, others are working on innovations to integrate transit with both public and private mobility options—shared rides in cars and vans, on scooters and bicycles, for example—using the new tools that technology has made available.

The intent is to move away from the need for more cars on the road, to make transit more effective, and to help clean up LA County’s increasingly bad air. Many of these new programs are being deployed in disadvantaged communities that are particularly burdened with both limited mobility options and poor air quality.

Join us for this conversation about technology, transportation, and improving public health and air quality. We'll also be honoring Dr. William A. Burke, retiring Chair of the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD), and talking with State Senator (ret.) Vanessa Delgado, the new Vice Chair of the SCAQMD, and Veronica Padilla-Campos, Executive Director of Pacoima Beautiful and now a Board Member at SCAQMD.

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Why not make fares free for all community college students in LA County?

We urge you to attend Metro’s Telephone Town Hall meeting tonight—Wed., March 30, 6:30-7:30 p.m.—to share your thoughts about how a fare-free system would change the way we use transit and help rebuild transit ridership. You must register to join the call, however, and registration closes at 3:30 p.m. Register here: https://tthm.wufoo.com/forms/metro-telephone-town-hall-signup/

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Metro has begun a “Fareless System Initiative” study and is likely to recommend an 18-month-long pilot program to provide free bus and rail service for all low-income riders beginning in January 2022 and expanding to include all K-12 students in August 2022.

Move LA has long championed the idea of free and/or reduced fares for college students, and believe Metro will miss an important opportunity by only including low-income college students. We believe the pilot should include all community college students because:

  • Ridership pre-COVID was 1.2 million boardings/day and has now fallen to 500,000 boardings/day, causing many to question whether transit will be relevant going forward—we need to find new riders now.
  • Community college students are an ideal population for this pilot because about 2/3 are low-income and  independent enough and environmentally conscious enough to understand
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Thank you for a wonderful time at Spring Forward LA 2021!

We had a really really good time at our Spring Forward LA 2021 event last Thursday night honoring the "Transit Transformers" who have played a crucial role in in pushing forward LA County's expanding transit system and transit-oriented housing as well.

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Click the graphic above to get a better view of these transit superheroes (L to R): Former Metro Boardmember/former Duarte Mayor John Fasana, LA Business Council President Mary Leslie, Laborers Local 300 Business Manager Sergio Rascon, Metro CEO Phil Washington, Skanska Executive Vice President Mike Aparicio, LA BizFed CEO Tracy Hernandez and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia.

2020 was a challenging year, but spring is here—and pretty soon everyone can get vaccinated—bringing hope for the future of LA County, California, and the rest of the world. We took this opportunity to honor the above leaders—in business, organized labor, government and nonprofit organizations—who have worked with us on so many issues since 2008!

But we have much more work to do.

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Join us to honor Mike Aparacio, who's been working on the railroad in Los Angeles County!

Mike Aparicio has just been named Executive Vice President at Skanska, a Swedish firm that is one of world’s oldest and biggest construction and development companies—one that has signed the Paris Agreement, been named to Forbes list of Best Employers for Diversity several times, and to Fortune’s “Change the World” list of companies pursuing socially or environmentally sustainable practices.

Mike, a third-generation California contractor, began working in his family's road-building business after college, then got work on the Red Line subway in the 1990s, and soon became project manager on what was then called the Blue Line to Pasadena (then the Gold Line and now the L Line)—a construction joint venture project that helped make his career take off. 

Perhaps this is partly because of his perspective on construction work: "While most people think it's all about digging and welding and pouring concrete, in fact it has a very human side. Construction is also a people business. One of our biggest calling cards for Skanska is that we try to nurture relationships—with the neighbors, the people who run the agencies, with city council members—because this is also where we live and work.

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