Move LA convened a luncheon and discussion on Friday of last week to talk about LA Metro’s proposed sales tax measure — little did we know when we planned the event that the plan for the ballot measure would be released that same morning. Here’s a link to the Metro plan and a link to coverage in the LA Times, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, and the Daily News. And here's what got said at our luncheon, including these comments from 2 board members:
LA City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember Mike Bonin:
The plan does a good job of providing something for every subregion — including something big. As a city councilmember I can tell you that there are things that are not in the plan that I would have liked to see. But because we have to get a 2/3 majority vote in order to win the plan has to be ambitious in scope, and this means that no one is going to get everything they asked for.
Duarte City Councilmember and Metro Boardmember John Fasana, who becomes chair of the Metro board in June:
There’s a lot to like in this plan but our needs in LA County exceed our grasp, and in order to get the buy-in we need from all of the subregions and all the constituencies represented by Move LA we can’t create carve-outs for everyone. There will be opportunity for adjustments, but funding projects not currently in the plan will require taking funding away from projects that are in the plan — which will cause reverberations. For this reason my inclination is to make minimal changes. It’s important to remember a key lesson from the Measure R sales tax is that creating a new funding stream like this allows us to leverage significant investments from other sources including the state’s Cap & Trade Program, which could provide additional investments for active transportation, as well as funding from both the state and federal government for goods movement, for example. The transit and highway investments in this plan are critical, however, because without these we’ll never win a 2/3 vote across the county.
Ron Miller, Executive Secretary at Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council:
I’m impressed that Metro has done its homework to find out what all the agency’s constituencies need and want, and has conducted focus groups and polling and that this has been a transparent process. The result is a good list of projects that’s not out of line with what Move LA has proposed. What’s missing? One thing we care about that is not in the plan is funding for a clean freight program that will help us move goods into and out of the ports.
Hilary Norton, Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic:
Here are a few of the things that the business community is looking for: We believe that first-last-mile connections need to become part of the definition of a transit line because we need to create better connections to major job centers and to all the county’s economic engines. We believe that an investment in goods movement is critical to achieve air quality. And we believe that Metro does not talk enough about investing in arterials and boulevards that are a critical part of the countywide transportation system.
Tamika Butler, LA County Bicycle Coalition:
We had been asking that 10% of the investment be used to fund bicycle and pedestrian improvements and the plan falls far short of that investment. It’s important to remember we are not just concerned about people who wear spandex: We are not a special interest group but a core constituency. CicLAvia has demonstrated how many people are interested in better opportunities for walking and biking. The people who have no choice but to walk and bike — because they have no other options — are students who have no other way to get to school, and seniors, and people with disabilities, and lower-income people. And this is of great concern because LA County consistently has some of the highest numbers of bicyclist and pedestrian deaths in the nation.
Nancy McPherson, AARP:
We are a nonprofit consumer organization that believes we must create livable communities for people of all ages — and we are a constituency that votes in high numbers, which could be important for a win in November. We believe the best way to provide a transportation system that serves older adults is often through smaller projects and by routinely considering the needs of older adults when policies and investments are made. We’d like it if there was an ombudsman at Metro to help ensure the needs of older adults are considered, and the development of metrics to ensure accountability as to how funds are being spent. Remember that currently 12% of the population is 65 or older but by 2025 the number increases to 18% and then will double by 2050.
Nidia Erceg, Coalition for Clean Air:
We are most excited about investments in the development, demonstration and deployment of clean technologies for goods movement because we believe these will have the most impact on air quality in low-income communities, which suffer the most from air pollution. We believe the plan falls short of making these critical investments.
Denny Zane, Move LA:
We do have other choices to make that could increase the size of the investment and provide additional funding for projects. Metro has not yet decided whether this should be a 40-year measure, which would provide $76 billion dollars, or a 45-year measure for $93 billion, or a 50-year measure that would raise $120 billion. And there is also discussion about making this an “augment and extend” or an “augment and replace” ballot measure that would extend the Measure R tax as well as add an additional half-cent tax.