Meeting tonight and Oct. 29 to discuss upcoming vote by downtown residents on funding Los Angeles Streetcar

The Los Angeles Streetcar project is holding two public meetings in downtown to explain and discuss the upcoming vote for downtown residents on whether they should tax themselves to help fund the streetcar.

Specifically, the vote is whether a “community facilities district” should be created downtown, the idea being that residents within the district levy a tax on themselves. The tax is based on property values; Los Angeles Streetcar says that the typical condo owner will pay about $60 per year.

I’ll be blunt: the vote is critical to building the streetcar in the near-term. The Community Facilities District is expected to pay about half the $125 million cost of the project and having local funding is critical to attracting the federal funding that will be needed to complete the streetcar.

Ballots will be mailed to registered voters in downtown Los Angeles on Nov. 13 and they must be returned by Nov. 28. Here’s a look at the Community Facilities District below, along with the route chosen for the streetcar, which will be easily accessible from many Metro bus routes, including the Silver Line, along with the Red/Purple Line subway and the future Regional Connector.

Click above to see larger.

Categories: Transportation News

17 replies

  1. I am certainly going to vote no for this tax. Why should residents and business owners front the bill for something that will be used by office workers and tourists? I voted for Measure R to fund transportation that is equally paid by all residents not just the local ones. Find the money somewhere else.

  2. The big question is: what’s the cost to ride the streetcar? $1.50 per ride no matter how short or long again?

    I live right across the other side of the 110.

    Does the streetcar serve my needs to go shopping around Downtown LA? No.

    Does it make it any cheaper to travel 2 miles from MacArthur Park to Staples Center? No.

    Does it make it any cheaper for me to consider wasting $75 a month just to travel 2 miles into Downtown LA? No.

    We don’t need more taxpayer levied projects. We to focus on massive fare reform that equalizes fares for everyone. Fix the fare system first, then let’s talk about projects.

  3. “Find the money somewhere else.”

    Vote no, but don’t fool yourself that somehow funding can be found elsewhere. And without this matching money the quest for federal small smart funding will fail. And that means no project. That is the reality.

  4. Funding can be secured by changing how Metro conducts its business.

    They need to stop acting like a bloated government bureaucracy who keeps coming back crying to taxpayers to solve their problems. They need to become a profit oriented business. That’s how mass transit “corporations” work all over the world. They need to stop being an “agency” and become a “corporation.” If they have no idea how to make mass transit run like a business while still making transit affordable for everyone, they can just sell off Metro to those who can and have been doing so for decades: the mass transit corporations in Asia.

    The more Metro can free itself from taxes and instead rely on their own revenues and profits, the better. We have better uses for taxpayer dollars than transit. We can use tax dollars to fund schools instead.

  5. I am guessing that the fair will likely be about $0.50, like the DASH.

    “Why should residents and business owners front the bill for something that will be used by office workers and tourists?”
    -I think that the $60 in annual cost to the condo owner would come back to them in the form of increased property value. Make the area a more attractive area to live and work, property values will go up.
    -With the changes that are going on downtown, it will make it faster and easier for a local to get to the new shopping and entertainmet locales that are popping up. And maybe it will make the re-launched Grand ave Park a real destination. The more that people think about and visit the park, the more lively the place becomes and the more people think about it and visit it, etc.
    -It will be one more thing that will attract new businesses to Downtown, creating more jobs, from the waiter/ess type in the new pub to the new lawyer/banker type.

    BTW, I have no dog in the fight. Just shedding some light on why someone living in the area might support it, with tangible benefit based reasons.

  6. @just a person

    Sure all those arguments are valid and I think the regional connecter going through downtown will help satisfy those statements.

    The regional connector will do more for downtown than a slow streetcar. Just ask Portland how they like their streetcar. Tourist loved it until they ended the free zone downtown, locals not so much from the start.

    62 million is a small sum they can get from bloated Measure R projects. How much did they spend on the 405 already?

    $60 a year seems a small sum to pay but over 30 years to fund something that may not be around that long is just irresponsible.

  7. You all know where this is going.

    Oh come on it’s only $60 a year, you can afford that can’t you?

    Then it’ll be “oops sorry, forgot to take in consideration of rising material prices. You can spare another $50 can’t you?”

    Then it’ll be “you know, this streetcar never makes any money so we need money to keep it running. You guessed it, fork over another $50 baby. Come to papa.”

    And of course “we raised pensions for ourselves so we’re really desperate. Yeah, hand me over $50 more.”

  8. The advocates of streetcar proposals in the US, including this one, argue that they will provide economic development, not mobility benefits. There are certainly few mobility benefits to be found in this proposal. It would ride on top of DASH, numerous buses, the Red Line, and the planned Regional Connector. It’s proposed as a one way loop which further limits its transit utility even further, because numerous otherwise possible trips will become slower than walking (streetcars being a very slow mode anyway). DASH does not currently run at night, but DASH hours could be extended for a much lower cost.

    So it really is a property values/assessment cost decision. Do you, property owners of Downtown LA think that the economic development benefit is worth the cost? Renters of course don’t share in that economic development upside, though they may well see small rent increases to cover the cost. Will all classes of property benefit equally–will residential property benefit as much as commercial property?

  9. Lets do some fact checking. The streetcar is NOT a Metro project. It’s a project by the Downtown Business District. Measure R is not associated with this project, hence why we need funding for this project. I vote Yes and I’m a downtown resident who will gladly pay for this benefit (plus a higher property value that comes with this!)

  10. The streetcar serves no transportation purpose, it is primarily a development purpose. There are Metro bus lines on all of the major streets running 6-10 times an hour, from 6 am to 9 pm seven days a week. But people can’t spend $5 to ride all day on a bus.

  11. calwatch,

    Let alone even have a need to spend $5 for a day pass for short rides that involves transfers. Why would anyone want to pay $5 to go from MacArthur Park to Staples Center when it’s only 2 miles away? It’s cheaper to carpool and split the cost of parking.

    • Hi everyone;

      It’s a city of Los Angeles project although Metro did the environmental studies because of the agency’s expertise in doing such work.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  12. The real question is if this does get built who foots the bill for operating expenses? I assume since Metro is involved they will be providing the operation funding. Portland is having issues with keeping up with promised head ways due to lack of Trimet funding.

  13. Mr Hyman:

    This is pretty irresponsible to pass on the myth that the typical condo owner will pay about $60 per year. The exact language on the LASI website is the Median condo will pay $60 per year. Ive seen reports from other sources stating it would be closer to $200 to $500 per year for a condo that measures 1000 sq feet.

    I hope you understand that typical and median mean two different things. why didn’t metro release the actual per square foot calculation of this tax? Sure you are just helping out, but as a partner you have a fiduciary responsibility to provide facts to the voters.

  14. By saying metro did the environmental studies is a stretch of the truth. Metro acted as a vendor manager and hired HDR Engineering to do the study for $2.26 Million Dollars.

    So is metro’s expertise conducting environmental studies or managing vendors to do such studies? You statement makes one think Metro is an expert a environmental studies when really they are managing vendor to do the work. Two completely different things.

    Also I was able to gleam some facts from the City’s council action:
    http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2011/11-0329-S6_CA_07-31-12.pdf

    Saying the average property owner will pay $60 per year is not true. You mentioned they are based on property values, but they are not. The tax is based on parcel square footage and the rates are as follows for the 3 zones:
    Zone 1 $.59670 per square foot
    Zone 2 $.41769 per square foot
    Zone 3 $.20885 per square foot
    Doing some simple calculations one would have to have a property at zone 3 at 300 square feet to come close to the stated $60 calculation. 150 sq feet at zone 2 and 100 square feet at zone 1. Obviously most condos are larger than 300 square feet.

    Additionally the maximum term of the tax is 40 years. That is 10 years longer than what has been reported. Also they can raise it up to 10% of the rate at each zone to cover delinquent property owners. So the rates can go up albeit a small amount.

    So it appears LASI and it’s partner Metro are tying to sell a bill of goods at artificially low price. Most Condo owners will certainly pay more that $60 per year.