Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
Mayor proposes extension of Measure R sales tax (L.A. Times)
Mayor to urge Measure R extension (Daily News)
Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa will propose asking L.A. County voters to extend the Measure R sales tax to accelerate the construction of transit projects in his State of the City speech this afternoon. The original Measure R half-cent sales tax was approved by county voters in 2008, went into effect in mid-2009 and expires in mid-2039.
The idea is to borrow against future Measure R revenues in order to build the transit projects in the next decade and create more jobs. It is important to note that the Metro Board of Directors has yet to discuss whether to put an extension to voters, nor has the Board made a decision to do so. Some Measure R projects are already scheduled to be built in the next decade while others — such as the Metro Connector to LAX, the second and third phase of the Westside Subway Extension (to Century City and Westwood, respectively) and the Sepulveda Pass transit project — have much longer timelines.
Metro staff will be discussing funding scenarios for project acceleration — including a Measure R extension — with Board committees this week. Here’s the presentation that they will give. And here is the original Measure R expenditure plan with all the project timelines.
Passage of a state bill will also be required in order to get an extension onto the ballot in November. Here’s a recent post about the bill, AB 1446 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), clearing its first committee in the state Assembly earlier this month.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is acknowledging that passage of a long-term transportation bill during his tenure at the department is unlikely. LaHood blames the House leadership for the continued stalling on a transportation bill. With the bill dead for now, LaHood says his greatest accomplishment as Secretary will be the Obama Administration’s commitment to safety. This commitment has included a focus on reducing distracted driving.
Is it finally over?: court denies appeal of Expo phase II environmental documents (Streetsblog Los Angeles)
As noted today on the blog, the California Court of Appeals has ruled unanimously in favor of the Expo Authority in litigation brought by Neighbors for Smart Rail (NFSR). The group’s suit had challenged Expo’s Final EIR but the court concluded that the final environmental report has adequately evaluated potential impacts of the project. The Court also concurred with the lower court decision holding that the Authority complied with CEQA in assessing potential traffic and air quality impacts of the project.
A homeowner and the Woodland Hills Homeowners Organization have filed a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles and Westfield over the $500-million development planned for the corner of Topanga Canyon Boulevard and Victory Boulevard in the west San Fernando Valley. Last February the city approved the mixed-use project, which includes a hundred shops and restaurants. In their suit, the plaintiffs contend that a planned Costco and adjoining gas station violate the Warner Center Specific Plan by encouraging car use. The lawsuit also alleges that the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act by failing to consider the development’s potentially harmful impacts. CEQA lawsuits can take years to resolve, putting in jeopardy a planned 2012 groundbreaking.
Streetfilms and the Public Policy Institute at AARP have produced a short film on how Arlington, Virginia, plans for its senior population using transit-oriented development (TOD). Arlington was an early adopter of TOD linked to the arrival of the Washington Metro in the city in the late 1970s. According to the film, TOD solutions have helped the city manage growth and accommodate the city’s aging population.