MOVE LA HAS BUILT a successful civic engagement model resulting in smart, transformative solutions to complex problems in LA County. Since 2007 Move LA has worked with a wide range of civic leaders and organizations to “dream big” and identify strategies that address fundamental community challenges by forming alliances and coalitions that champion viable solutions to LA County's problems. To date we have focused on the need to fund transit and affordable housing in neighborhoods near transit, and the success of our work has served as a model for community advocacy in other cities and counties and has been celebrated around the U.S.! Read about our 2021 work agenda below and our most significant accomplishments so far at the very bottom of the page.
There is so much more we want to do. And at Move LA we like to say, "When you are on a roll, keep rolling."
The world has become more challenging for all of us, across all of America, these past several years and especially recently. Unaddressed challenges can become crises.
Move LA began during a challenging time, when LA’s “soul-crushing traffic,” as it came to be known, was on everyone’s mind with no solution in sight. Move LA started a campaign to address this challenge by building a coalition to support a ballot measure to fund the build-out of LA County’s transit system—which became Measure R—and which voters approved by 67.4% even as the Great Recession loomed before us.
After the recession ebbed, Measure R was followed by Measure M in 2016 and voters said “Yes” again, and together R and M created a $120 billion program for a major investment in a new transit system and more transit service in LA County. Read the Eno Center for Transportation's assessment of our campaign work as a major player alongside Mayor Garcetti and LA Metro.
But there was little time to celebrate, as one challenge followed another and we came to appreciate how severe our affordable housing crisis was, that homelessness in LA County would become a grave humanitarian crisis, and that losing so many low-income workers—who could no longer afford to live in LA County—would adversely impact transit ridership. Read why we believe the decline in Metro's bus ridership is a by-product of our affordable housing crisis.
Working with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Move LA proposed and championed an idea that became Measure H on the 2017 ballot, which was also approved by voters, resulting in a $350 million/year program to provide essential services and housing for people who were homeless and living on the street. Read more about Measure H.
In 2018, while we understood that climate change would become a generational challenge, we also read the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming and learned that we had but a decade to turn things around. Read why short-lived but deadly super pollutants are causing major temperature increases around the world.
And then the pandemic overtook our country and our economy in 2020—taking the lives of more than 400,000 Americans and 14,000 LA County neighbors by January 2021 and still counting as we enter the new year. The pandemic exposed the festering wounds of racism and inequality as the horrors of police violence were unleashed upon one innocent African American after another across America, and Black Lives Matter became a focal point for nationwide advocacy.
We share our community’s frustration and horror. We know it will take real leadership to move forward on the issues that have been raised regarding both police reform and public health, and we are grateful to those who have taken the lead on these issues. But we aspire to lead on other issues, and to help create pillars of support to aid us in building healthy, equitable, sustainable communities that will allow us to achieve a just and lasting prosperity.
Our work over the next few years will focus on the four pillars described below:
We will advocate for state and federal recovery funding to rebuild our transit system and transit ridership by funding major capital projects that both support economic recovery and build the transit system of the future in LA County. We will build support for:
Bus capital projects (as championed in Metro’s NextGen Bus Plan to develop a bus system that better meets the needs of LA County riders), and the purchase of properties near transit specifically for the development of affordable housing. Read about NextGen in a conversation we had with Metro Chief of Staff Nadine Lee. And read more about Metro and affordable housing in a conversation with Metro CEO Phil Washington.
This is a big deal and the result of a hard-fought battle. Prior to 2020, the federal government had never provided funds directly to local transit agencies for general operations (just for capital projects). In December Move LA held a major event with federal, state, and local leaders, and has contacted many of them directly to lobby for this outcome—so we are pretty excited. Listen to the Zoom call.
However, the work isn’t done. Transit agencies still need $32 billion to survive in 2021. If Congress doesn’t authorize additional funding, transit agencies could be forced to make major cuts in service, staff, and more. LA Metro and our municipal transit agencies may not be spared as the revenue from our local sales taxes and the state gas tax that funds transit operations are way down. So the work continues.
One important effort that we are working on right now is to ensure that Metro’s transit operators are vaccinated. We know that Metro is working on a plan and since transit operators are on the frontline ensuring that other essential workers can get to work, they should be vaccinated as soon as possible. We are making the case with partner organizations to ask LA County’s Department of Public Health to follow state guidelines and put transit workers first.
We must act quickly to save transit and ensure that service is restored because transit is the connective tissue for our community—it ensures we all can get to work, and to grocery stores, doctor’s appointments, school, and more. Without it, we will see more than just a shortage of beds in our hospitals. Let’s all do our part to keep transit running.
Current federal transportation law expires in September 2021 and is reauthorized every 5 years—providing an opportunity for change. We are working with Transportation for America and others to fund maintenance and not just expansion; to design for safety instead of speed; to measure success by how well transportation connects people with jobs and opportunity; and to create parity between funding for highways and public transit (highways now receive 80% while transit receives 20%). Listen to our Zoom call in December with elected officials, agency leaders, and transit and equity advocates.
We will support efforts to develop a model transportation system in LA County that is responsive to the health and equity challenges exposed by the pandemic. Our work will include:
- Advocating for $32 billion in the next federal and state COVID relief or stimulus bills to provide immediate funding for transit operations through the end of FY2021.
- Re-building transit ridership by continuing to advocate for a robust discount transit pass program for LA County’s most vulnerable populations, specifically essential workers, low-income households, students, older adults, and people with disabilities. We will also support the investigation of a fare-free transit system.
- Supporting the idea of piloting “universal basic mobility”—partnerships and/or policies to provide a minimum level of mobility to all members of society so that no matter where a person lives or how much money they make they have access to safe, reliable, affordable public and private transportation options.
- Continuing to uplift the work of the Aging and Disability Network by helping to encourage policies and programs that support aging adults and people with disabilities.
- Encouraging Metro to create a more equitable, sustainable, and progressive budget that ensures bus service and customer experience remains a priority.
We will continue to support the development of more affordable housing near transit, especially along what we have been calling “Boulevards of Equity and Opportunity.” We define these streets as underutilized commercial corridors that would accommodate the development of mixed-income mixed-use housing; pedestrians, bicyclists and improved bus service (particularly bus rapid transit); and urban greening and street trees. In order to build support for these boulevards we will:
- Seek amendments to SB 961 (Sen. Allen), a bill we sponsored in 2018 that was signed into law by Gov. Brown and provides governance for a particular kind of infrastructure financing districts (called NIFTI-2) with the goals of enabling city, county and state partnerships to fund and build affordable housing, prevent homelessness, and create sustainable communities near transit. We are continue to work with Sen. Allen on this bill.
- Build a coalition to support legislation that enables multifamily housing in mixed-use development on commercial boulevards and in downtowns in municipalities in Southern California. The goal is to create sustainable and affordable mixed-use, mixed-income, multi-family communities near high-quality transit. Learn more about Boulevards of Equity and Opportunity.
- Support significant funding from Sacramento for affordable housing.
- Build the coalition needed to support local affordable housing funding measure(s).
We are creating Move CA, a project of Move LA, to provide a vehicle for us to find and build partnerships statewide in order to develop strategies, and perhaps ballot measures, that will help us address the existential challenge of climate change and air pollution in California.
- We are currently exploring with partners the possibility of a statewide measure in 2022 to do much of what we had hoped to achieve in Southern California with our earlier Vision 2020—to enable the accelerated deployment of zero-emission battery-electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles. Learn more about our Climate & Clean Air Initiative.
- We are committed to reducing short-lived climate pollutants—also called SLCPs, super pollutants or climate forcers—and hardwire commitments to social equity and labor justice in the process. Read more re: SLCPs.
Beginning in Oct. 1 we have been staging a series of Zoom calls with climate and clean air leaders and social and environmental justice organizations in order to determine the best and most just way to move forward with the goal of cleaning the air and curbing climate change. Listen to the 3 Zoom calls.
Just as Move LA played a major and ongoing role in expanding LA County’s transit system, we believe we can play a similar role in continuing to promote robust transit ridership and system expansion; to achieve more affordable, just and sustainable communities near transit; and to help find the best path forward to clean the air and curb climate change.
This has been a decade of remarkable success in LA County and California as a whole,
and we have played a notable role in it, beginning with:
Measure R, 2008: Move LA built the business, labor, environmental coalition that sponsored Measure R, a 30-year 1⁄2 cent sales tax measure for transportation placed on the ballot by LA Metro in November 2008. It is fair to say we tee’d it up for Mayor Villaraigosa to bring it home. Measure R was approved by 67.4% of LA County voters and would raise $36 B over 30 years for primarily transit investments. Measure M amended R to continue until voters choose to change or end it.
SCAG's Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS), 2012: Move LA was a founding member of the ClimatePlan coalition that convened environmental, environmental justice, housing and transit advocates to champion ambitious GHG reduction goals in the first RTP/SCS at the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).
California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, 2014: Move LA was a founding member and the only Southern California participant in the Sustainable Communities For All (SC4A) coalition, which won continuous appropriations of significant cap-and-trade funds for transit capital (the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program), transit operations (the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program), and affordable housing near transit (the Affordable Housing and Sustainable Communities Program). By the beginning of 2019, more than $8 billion dollars were appropriated by the legislature to state agencies implementing GHG emission reduction programs and projects.
Measure M, 2016: Move LA continued building a coalition that would convince LA Metro to place Measure M on the ballot in November 2016. It is fair to say we tee’d this measure up so that Mayor Garcetti could bring it home. Measure M had no sunset and extended Measure R with no sunset. Together Measure R and M will generate an astounding $160 B for transportation investments in LA County over the next 40 years, and more in the years following—until voters choose to change it. More than 70% of funds will be invested in an expanded rail transit system, enhanced bus service, and active transportation projects. Significant funds were earmarked for enhanced transit services for older adults and persons with disabilities as well.
Metro Student Transit Pass Program, 2016: Move LA worked with LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to gain Metro's support for a universal student transit pass program, which has already significantly grown student transit ridership in LA County.
Measure H, 2017: Working closely with Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Move LA helped launch and win Measure H in 2017, a sales tax measure approved by LA County voters to raise $350 M/year to provide services and housing to end homelessness.
SB 961 (Allen), 2018: In 2018 the legislature approved and Governor Brown signed SB 961, authored by Sen. Ben Allen and sponsored by Move LA, into law. The bill enables cities to create tax increment financing districts within 1⁄2 mile of major transit service. Districts will be required to use 40% of the tax increment for affordable housing, 10% for urban greening and active transportation investments, and the remaining 50% for transit capital projects and other neighborhood improvements.
No on Prop 6, 2018: In November 2018, working in partnership with labor, we were the primary organizers of the LA County-based opposition to Proposition 6 which sought to repeal SB 1, the legislature’s major transportation infrastructure bill, which provides about $5 billion/year for transportation statewide. Happily, voters rejected Prop 6 and preserved funds to ensure a state of good repair for local streets and highways, with a 15% set aside for investments in transit capital and operations and in active transportation.