Metro Board to consider ongoing planning of second and third decade Measure R transit projects

One of the key questions facing the Metro Board of Directors at its meeting Thursday: should Metro continue to plan projects that are scheduled to be built in the second and third decades of Measure R?

These include transit projects such as an extension of the Gold Line from East Los Angeles, a Green Line extension from Redondo Beach, the Airport Metro Connector and the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor project.

Some quick background. Measure R is the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. Measure R expires in mid-2039. The schedule to build transit projects that Measure R will help fund are staggered over the 30 years for a simple reason: the sales tax funds needed to pay for the projects flows into county coffers over time, not all at once.

Even though several projects are not scheduled to completed until the 2020s or 2030s, Metro has been working on the required environmental studies for them. Why? Because the Metro Board has pursued strategies to secure funding to accelerate those projects (such as America Fast Forward). And history has shown time and again that transit projects that are clearly defined with solid plans are more competitive when it comes to winning often scarce money.

There is one important caveat to consider: once finished, environmental studies have a shelf life of about three years. If work doesn’t begin on a project within three years of the completion of the environmental documents, the studies for that project would likely need to be updated, which can be pricey and time-consuming.

Below is the Metro staff report (pdf here). It is scheduled to be considered at the Metro Board of Directors meeting Thursday at 9:00 a.m. at Metro headquarters adjacent to Los Angeles Union Station.

Measure R second and third decade project staff report by

11 replies

  1. The environmental document most critical issue is the project’s purpose and need and subsequently its evaluation metrics.

    The three years shelf life is more specific to traffic studies and not the environmental document. Since most conditions and impacts stay the same , unless there is a new mandate, one could start new studies or re-evaluate completed technical studies and update them accordingly.

    Another option is to consider alternative analysis and community-based input into a corridor mobility study and eventually into a planning document that would be used later as the basis for further refinement.

    Like

  2. I worry these studies (and the public meetings that are held as part of the process of preparing them) can raise false hope in the corridors. Over a decade ago meetings were held (with thinly veiled boosterism) for the Crenshaw corridor when nothing remotely was going to happen there for quite some time.

    Like

  3. Frankly, I don’t give a damn anymore since they chose not to use Sepulveda Blvd. on the north end of the valley for the east valley transit connector. They’ll also probably choose a busway and not a light rail for this line since they consider valley residents 2nd class citizens.

    Like

  4. Mike, I take it your comment is a veiled complaint about the Orange Line. It was dysfunctional Valley squabbling that prevented light rail happening during the 90s. And it was the Valley elite subsequently who pushed for the busway as a trophy project.

    Like

  5. @ Mike: I too would have liked to see the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor follow the old red line route, but the ESFVTC preliminary AA was much more favorable to light rail then I would have thought. The Van Nuys only LRT route would still be an amazing success for the city and county. The fact that we have an Orange Bus instead of rail stacks the deck against us, but giving up is exactly what the Metro Board wants. I for one am not willing to lie down and die, no matter how little my elected officials care about my community.

    It is an uphill battle to get Metro to think of an area bigger, denser, and more populated then almost every other city in America as anything more than a piggy bank. But we are big portion of the electorate, as we showed by beating Measure J, and hence the reason for the report therein. Keep holding LACMTA’s feet to the fire and if they don’t give us what they are giving so many others, namely alternatives to driving and a fair return on our billions in transit taxes, then we will continue to stone wall every ballot measure Metro puts out. They can’t win without us, at least not as long as there is a 2/3rds requirement for new taxes. As much as I like democracy, I would hate to see the state of affairs north of Mulholland without Prop 13.

    Like

  6. @AD

    I agree with your thoughts in the first paragraph.

    We need to hold the next mayor of LA accountable for what happens to the proposed LRT line along Van Nuys Blvd especially now when an election is coming up and the candidates have an opportunity to express their views. The mayor has 4 votes on the Metro board.

    Sepulveda would have been nice but there were too many who didn’t want to see Brand Blvd torn up. I can’t do anything about that now but a Van Nuys LRT that conceivable tunnels under the Sepulveda Pass would be awesome now and in the future.

    And don’t forget to speak up a year or so from now when Metro will have to decide how to proceed and how to fund it.

    Like