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LA TIMES: REVIVAL OF DOWNTOWN LA STREETCARS HEADS FOR BALLOT

Downtown voters will decide the fate of a $125-million effort to bring a trolley system back to Los Angeles after the City Council on Tuesday agreed to let residents decide on the special tax measure in November. Council members approved formation of a taxing district that encompasses about 7,000 registered voters and 397 acres of land downtown. The measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass.

Under the proposal, property owners would pay a tax proportional to the square footage of their holdings and their property's proximity to the streetcar lines. A condo owner living in a 1,000-square-foot space would pay $200 to $500 a year, while a hotel owner could pay several hundred thousand dollars in assessments. City leaders hope to generate $62.5 million.

Read more . . .

DTLA STREETCAR VOTE TUESDAY AT LA CITY HALL

Tomorrow the Los Angeles City Council will consider a series of city ordinances that, if approved, will allow registered voters along the proposed alignment of the Downtown L.A. Streetcar area to vote on local funding for the project. This City Council approval is critical to the project’s ability to move forward and receive federal funding.

Paraphrased from the LA Streetcar website: Financing plans for streetcars can best be characterized as the creative leveraging of a diverse array of federal, state and local funding sources . . . While there are federal funding programs that can be used to fund streetcars there are also reasons to pursue local and state funding as well. For example, the federal funding evaluation process is expensive and time-consuming, and favors projects that save time for commuters instead of streetcars, which are slow and stop frequently to facilitate the circulation of passengers in densely populated neighborhoods like downtown.

The meeting is in City Hall Room 340 at 10 a.m. Read more.

CPDR: EXPO OPENS UP WORLD OF TOD POSSIBILITIES

Josh Stephens writes that the completion of Phase I of the Expo Line marks a momentous occasion because it connects downtown Los Angeles with the Westside via rail for the first time in decades, and because it presents “seemingly ideal opportunities for transit-oriented development. Residents who live along the line might never have to endure the 10 Freeway ever again,” especially with an extension to Santa Monica expected to open in 2015. The main challenge, Stephens writes, is that of finding parcels large enough to make transit-oriented development worthwhile.
Read it on the California Planning & Development Report

USDOT ANNOUNCES $17 B IN TIFIA LOANS, COULD LEVERAGE $50 B IN TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENTS

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has announced the availability of up to $17 billion in loans for critical infrastructure projects across the country as a result of the recently enacted surface transportation bill, MAP-21. MAP-21 capitalized TIFIA with an additional $1.7 billion over 2 years, up from $120 million in 2012, making it the largest transportation infrastructure finance fund in the department’s history. Each dollar of federal funds can provide approximately $10 in TIFIA credit assistance, which in turn can leverage $20-$30 billion in transportation infrastructure investment. Altogether the expanded federal loan program could result in up to $50 billion in federal, state, local and private sector investment for transportation projects. To date, TIFIA — the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act — has used $9.2 billion to leverage more than $36.4 billion in private and other funding to build 27 major transportation projects around the U.S.

Read the USDOT press release.

WILL ATLANTA ADOPT A SALES TAX FOR TRANSPORTATION ON TUESDAY??

The Transportation for America blog notes that "It took three tries in the Georgia legislature for metro Atlanta to win the right to vote itself a regional sales tax to fix its transportation woes, and another two years of a grinding political process to come up with a list of 157 highway and transit projects that just might do the trick. Now comes the really hard part: Convincing the voters likely to show up for the July 31 primary election to vote for it."

A piece in the New York Times explained what's at stake: "For more than a decade, Atlanta has been among the fastest-growing regions in the country, but the road and rail system in a state that ranks 49th in per capita transportation spending just could not keep up. Hourlong commutes are common, and more than 80 percent of commuters drive alone. … The approach is also an attempt to thread the political needle in an era when the recession and smaller-government sentiment have made any effort at new public spending, especially one with the word “tax” attached, a Sisyphean task."

And the Atlanta Journal Constitution noted that "without the sales tax revenue, the region is likely to be so strapped for transportation cash that tolls are the only real option. As one voter told her: ”I guess you pay it one way or another.”

Read the T4America blog HERE, NYT story HERE, and Atlanta Journal Constitution story HERE.

LONG, RAMBLING, PRETTY GREAT STREETSBLOG INTERVIEW WITH "THE TRANSIT MAYOR"

The comments posted after this interview comprise a Mayor Villaraigosa love fest! The two part interview also gives a shout out to Denny Zane and Move LA's "It's Time to Move LA" conference in 2008, noting it was a turning point in the trajectory of the city's car-to-transit orientation . . . .Damien Newton writes: "By the time Move L.A. and Denny Zane held the “It’s Time to Move L.A.” conference in January of 2008, the unofficial kickoff for the Measure R sales tax campaign, the discussion was already beginning to change. The consent decree was off the books and Metro was pushing large cuts to its bus service hours. At the same time, opposition to the sales tax proposal was already growing. . . "

Read Part 1 and Part 2.

MEASURE R GETS SOME LOVIN' FROM THE SAN GABRIEL VALLEY

The Pasadena Star News (and Curbed LA) writes that Measure R is finally getting some love from the San Gabriel Valley, thanks to Duarte Mayor John Fasana, also an LA Metro Board Member, and the amendment he introduced allowing Metro to redirect newly created highway funding to transit projects, including the Gold Line Foothill Extension.

Check it out on the Star News or Curbed LA.

 

CITY OF LA'S "LA/2B" ACTIVITY KIT IS AWESOME

The City of LA has made providing public comment on the Mobility Element fun and easy., and it's almost as if the city WANTS you to endorse a complete streets vision. So we encourage you to give it to them! Go on line and answer their several questions, including "If you were transportation director how would people get around?" and "What are the most important roles that streets should play?" "What are the most important transportation priorities?" And "Where would you like to see upgrades in your neighborhood?" Weigh in, because you just might get what you ask for! Times are a changin' in this big, bad city. Responses due by Sept. 1. Get the activity kit HERE.

METRO'S SELLING LITTLE TOKYO'S FORMER PUNK HANGOUT FOR $1

Curbed LA and Blogdowntown report that the former First Street home of the Atomic Cafe — a legendary hangout for the punk rock crowd in the '70s and '80s when the late-night scene could get very, very interesting — is available for $1. The hitch is that the building has to be moved somewhere else; Metro needs the land for the Regional Connector. READ MORE.

ACA 23 ENABLES TRANSPORTATION MEASURES ON SAME BALLOT AS CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO BE APPROVED BY 55%

A NOTE FROM DENNY ZANE:

Asm. Henry Perea (Fresno) has included Move LA's suggested amendment to ACA 23, the proposed constitutional amendment to reduce the Local Voter Threshold to 55% for transportation funding measures.  It will be heard in Assembly Appropriations on August 9.

Our amendment provides that if the proposed constitutional amendment were to be on the statewide ballot  (at this or a future election) and approved by voters (by 50% + 1), it would enable qualifying local transportation measures on the same ballot to be approved by the 55% threshold, rather than have to wait for another election cycle.

This could be huge.  It will 1) dramatically increase the interest in this measure by transportation agencies and 2) motivate and enable statewide + local campaign coordination when it is on the ballot.  Both will make the campaign much more powerful.

Keep in mind that:

  • a poll in the six-county SCAG region found 64% support for such a measure (half the state's population and voted very close to the state as a whole on last governor race and other measures.)

  • if it is written so that only broad-based taxes are included (no oil tax or tobacco tax, etc) then it may be that no one will wish to spend significant money against it

  • the Perea bill is sponsored by folks that are not the traditional urban transportation advocates.  It is sponsored by the generally conservative Kern County Council of Governments whose chair is the mayor of Ridgecrest, California.  This means we can find major supporters in the parts of the state that is otherwise most difficult on tax issues


Allies should send in letters of support for this measure, asking to participate in the hearing, even if the goal is to get it on the 2014 ballot, as we believe.

-----Original Message-----

From: Mata, Celia Celia.Mata@asm.ca.gov>
To: dennyzane dennyzane@aol.com>;
Sent: Wed, Jul 18, 2012 10:48 am
Subject: ACA 23 (Perea) update

Good morning!

As you know, ACA 23 is in Asm Appropriations. I submitted the amendments to the committee yesterday.  The amendments define “local transportation project” and include a provision stating that that if this measure were to pass, it shall apply to any concurrent qualifying local transportation measures.  Please see attached mock up amendments, which include the leg. counsel language.

The bill will be heard on Thu 8/9 (still confirming date with consultant).  The bill will go to the suspense file, which will be taken up on Thu 8/16.  The amendments will go in the bill once the bill comes off suspense.

I am forwarding you the updated fact sheet.  We added BART in support of the bill.’

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

Celia Mata, Legislative Director

Assemblymember Henry T. Perea

State Capitol, Room 4112

Sacramento, CA  95814

(916) 319-2031 Phone

(916) 319-2131 Fax

 


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