Statement from Metro CEO Art Leahy; Measure J falls just short of necessary two-thirds voter approval

Here’s the statement just issued by Metro Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy:

While the ballot effort to extend the Measure R transit sales tax by another 30 years fell just short of the necessary two thirds voter approval, Metro remains focused on delivering a dozen new transit projects and 15 highway improvement projects that voters approved four years ago in passing Measure R. In fact, within two years Metro should be overseeing simultaneous construction of five major rail projects. Also the Measure R transit sales tax for transit – approved in 2008 by more than 2 million voters – continues until 2039, so Metro directors have the option of asking voters in the future if they wish to extend the program.

The five projects are: Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extension (both currently under construction) and the Crenshaw/LAX Line, Regional Connector and Westside Subway Extension, which are gearing up for construction.

14 replies

  1. Measure J was written by John Fasana, Mayor of Duarte and a MTA Board of Director. It included a 30 year extension of Measure R that would have taxed the LA County Taxpayers until 2069. How can this kind of money; $90 billion dollars be justified in this economy or by any fiscally responsible legislative body? It can’t. And we were not given specifics on what projects were being delivered with this money nor were we given the proper public participation by Metro Board of Directors or Metro Staff. The $4 million tax dollars that were spent alone on outreach never made it to so many communities and cities within LA County. Now spending Measure R money on designated projects…which we only find out about when they leak it to an article or local rag. People do not really know what that completely includes. Why don’t we know what they are going to spend the money on when they have their Community Liason meetings? This is one of the big problems with this measure and with Metro. The public is willing to fund most projects with clarity and transparency from Metro and CalTrans but we have not been given the proper disclosure on what they will build, how they will build the projects and what the impact on the communities at large will be? And, we don’t want a tunnel or a toll tunnel under our neighborhoods along an earthquake fault or anywhere. So, working on the campaign against Measure J taught me so much. What is possible is that a transparent plan and discourse with the public will gain Metro support and trust with the Los Angeles communities, businesses and corporations involved. We are not going away and we want fiscal responsibility with our tax money. We demand it.

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  2. No, the “T” in MTA stands for Transportation, and MTA needs to reflect the needs of the millions of drivers in Los Angeles County – most trips are still made by car in LA County.

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  3. Mr. Leahy, the arrogance and disregard exhibited by the MTA towards the completion of the planned Gold Line to Claremont is not only shocking but an affront to taxpayers in Los Angeles County. After Measure R passed, the area was thrown a bone with the beginning of the first phase construction. Wasn’t a commitment made prior to the Measure R vote to build both extension phases? Yet, after Measure R is in place, you come out and publicly say that the soonest that the second extension will even be considered by the MTA is 2039.

    It is obvious that the main function of the MTA is for fulfilling Tony V.’s campaign promises to be the transportation mayor. Yes, when it comes time for a ballot initiative, the MTA talks about “regionalism,” but when it comes to spending money on rail projects, it seeks to do so within the city of Los Angeles at the expense of all other areas of the county. This lack of transparency and forthrightness with voters is troubling and a blemish on what should be an inclusive public planning process–a process that should reflect the concerns and needs of ALL county residents. This might come as a shock, but not all commuters drive to Los Angeles. Many work and shop in places like Pasadena, and extending the Gold Line will greatly enhance efforts of getting cars off the road and providing an energy-efficient transportation alternative. With an average daily ridership of 47,000, the Gold Line has proven itself as a viable transportation vehicle within the suburban area. The new Expo Line, which is in the center of the city and services USC, has an average daily ridership of 17,000.

    Though I am 100% behind mass transit and have used it often (in Los Angeles and elsewhere), I am supremely happy that Measure J failed. Perhaps the Los Angeles-dominated MTA board should reevaluate how it prioritizes projects and works with its constituent communities. Like it or not, the San Gabriel Valley is an integral part of the metropolitan area. It’s resident population is similar to that of the San Fernando Valley and it should be given its fair share of mass transit projects. With a change in attitude, maybe ballot initiatives for “regional transportation” will be supported.

    Thank you.

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