Thank you California Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon (D-Los Angeles) for introducing SB 767 and authorizing LA Metro to put a new half-cent sales tax measure on the 2016 ballot to fund transportation improvements! We like it — especially because it’s broadly worded so as to leave planning decisions about what to fund up to Metro. We encourage the Legislature to respect local decision-making about which projects will go into the Long Range Transportation Plan and be funded by the ballot measure.
It was former Assemblymember Michael Feuer, now Los Angeles city attorney, who introduced the bills that authorized Measure R, which won a supermajority vote in 2008 to provide $36 billion for public transportation over 30 years, and Measure J in 2012, which would have extended Measure R by another 30 years. Measure J fell just 15,000 votes of the required supermajority.
The fact that voters stepped up must have impressed the federal government, which subsequently awarded LA County with $3 million in grants and low-interest loans to help fund the planned transit projects — more money than the federal government has ever provided to LA County in such a short period of time. LA has embarked on what is being called the largest public works project in the U.S., with five rail lines under construction.