Transportation headlines, Wednesday, April 2

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A tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass? It might be yours for 25 cents a day (L.A. Times) 

Kerry Cavanaugh looks at the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project through the prism of a possible transportation sales tax increase that Metro is exploring for 2016. Measure R dedicates about a billion dollars for the project, but some of the early options for the project — including both a road/toll tunnel and rail tunnel — would require a public-private partnership, cost billions more and probably require some public money. Excerpt:

Yet the possibility of easing the most congested corridor in the nation is so tantalizing that Los Angeles voters might just be willing to tax themselves again to build it, right? That’s what transportation advocacy group Move LA is certainly hoping. Last week during a conference focused on developing a new half-cent sales tax increase proposal, Move LA organizers made the Sepulveda Pass tunnel a key focus of the discussion.

Move LA is pitching the sales tax measure for the November 2016 ballot, with a eye toward raising $90 billion over 45 years. The group estimates that it would cost the average county resident about 25 to 30 cents a day. This would be on on top of the existing Measure R half-cent tax increase for transportation.

After the loss of Measure J (a 30-year extension of the Measure R tax, which voters narrowly rejected) in 2012, Move LA and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority are approaching the ballot measure cautiously. They’re trying to build more county-wide consensus on needed transportation projects, with the incoming Metro board president, Mayor Eric Garcetti, promising a more “humble Los Angeles city” as he courts the San Gabriel Valley and South Bay cities that rejected Measure J.

As Kerry writes, the prospect of a good transit project across the Sepulveda Pass has always seemed to be a “distant dream.” So true. If there is a ballot measure in a couple of years, it will be very interesting to see what, if any, role this project plays in it. On a related note, here’s a study from 2012 that shows some of the different concepts initially explored for the Sepulveda Pass project.

L.A. could clash with L.A. County on transit tax measures (L.A. Times) 

Reporters Laura Nelson and David Zahniser ask a good question: if the city of Los Angeles pursues a sales tax increase this November to pay for street repair, how will city voters respond if Metro (a county agency) pursues the aforementioned ballot measure in 2016? It’s especially tricky considering the city of of L.A. is, of course, by far the largest city in the county and no county measure would likely pass without major support from city voters. The few people willing to talk on the record say that pursuing sales tax increases in both 2014 and ’16 is a poor idea but elected officials from the city of L.A. declined comment.

Koreatown to become next luxury market (GlobeSt.com)

The real estate site’s article is bullish on the prospects for K-town, saying there will be more multi-family housing and one of the big attractions for the area is its quick transit connections to downtown L.A. and Hollywood. The words “cosmopolitan” and “luxury” are tossed around in the article; the word “affordable” does not make an appearance.

L.A.’s interchanges are beautiful — if you’re not stuck in traffic (Southland-Gizmodo)

Nice photo spread on some of our bowl-of-spaghetti freeway interchanges, with a couple of sweet aerial shots of the four-level 110-10 junction in downtown.

Study ranks metro areas by sprawl (Governing) 

If there’s anything new here, it’s the assertion that more compact and connected metro areas offer more economic mobility. Makes sense. Not entirely sure why it required a study. About to send your child to graduate school? My three cents: perhaps a plant identification guide, map of the Pacific Crest Trail and a good lightweight backpack would be a better investment — if, that is, enlightenment is the goal.

America’s zippy new trains still lag behind those in Europe (Wired) 

A short and depressing reminder that train travel in the United States — the same country known for its big, wide open spaces — will mostly remain a 79 mile per hour or under affair with a few exceptions.

9 replies

  1. I was also wondering how the City’s voters would react to the the City and the County Transit tax.. The City of LA needs to come up with a new plan to repair the sidewalks and the streets. Additionally, if the Mayor really wants to work with San Gabriel Valley and South Bay cities, the City needs to consider a Transit Tax to contribute to the projects that benefit the City, i.e., the Subway, LAX, Sepulveda Pass and the planned lines in the SFV and West LA.

  2. It really remains to be seen whether LA voters will be for another tax hike.

    Word for Metro: when you introduce a tax hike proposal you need to quit doing the “it will only cost X cents a day, you surely can afford that can you?” salami slicing technique.

    It only ends up backfiring than helping you out. Many people have watched Superman III (the Christopher Reeve version) and Office Space so it sounds more like a scamming technique than a down to earth proposal.

  3. I think those who pushed for the widening of the 405 and those who designed the project missed the boat as far as mass transit. It should have been included. Not everyone lives in the SFV and new transit dollars should go to improving travel in other parts of the county. A case in point is the Hollywood Freeway. Built in the late 1940’s with four lanes in each direction it has never been widened or improved. Grid lock is not just during rush hour but everyday from about 7 AM to 8 PM. And there was a rail line down the middle of it from the Hollywood Bowl to Lankershiem Bl. at one time but was removed.

  4. Yes, more sales taxes! Just what we need to further move more jobs and businesses away from Los Angeles.

    But funny you never hear about cutting public employee salaries do you? Like the fact that taxpayers are paying $95,000 a year salary to corrupt state senators who have been kicked out of the state senate are now awaiting trial for voting fraud, bribery, and international arms trafficking (the last one being ironic that State Senator Leland Yee was a big proponent of anti-gun laws in this state!)

  5. Metro promised carpool lanes on the Harbor Freeway way back in the 80s. What I have now are “Express Lanes” and I’ve been shut out from using them unless I agree to carry your furniture (transponder) around in my vehicle.

    Metro will have to answer this question to me before I am to ever support another tax measure. My personal feeling is this was a bait and switch from what you promised from previous tax proposals, and I won’t support any future endeavors until the carpool lanes are returned to the Harbor Freeway corridor.

  6. “Kerry Cavanaugh looks at the Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor project”
    Just build LRT in a tunnel already. There is no reason on earth to build any sort of roadway expansion. You need to tunnel, and if you’re going to tunnel, it’s much cheaper to do it with rail. For now, branch off of the Expo Line and head north.