Although San Francisco and Los Angeles were seen as the favorites, the United States Olympic Committee on Thursday chose Boston. Perhaps not a huge surprise: officials there stressed that the northeastern U.S. has never hosted an Olympics and that using the many campuses in the area, they would have a ‘walkable’ games. By contrast, the L.A. area would have spread out the games a little more across our region (as is the case at most Olympics) while also relying on some facilities (many refurbished) that were part of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics here. In the end, it’s likely that the biggest strike against L.A. was simply that it been host twice before.
Bummer. An Olympics here would likely serve as a kick-starter for infrastructure and transportation projects. That said, there would likely have been challenges regarding expense and whether too much emphasis was being placed on a few weeks in 2024 instead of building for the day-in, day-out long haul. I suppose it’s probably better to lose at this stage rather than face another two years of trying to persuade International Olympic Committee officials to put the games here.
On the upside, the good news is that by most accounts, the L.A. area put together a good bid and downtown L.A.’s ongoing revival and the ongoing expansion of our transit system positions the city to be a good host to all sorts of events in the future — from routine conventions to the big stuff.
Metro regional bike share expected to open in downtown L.A. in 2016 (Streetsblog L.A.)
A good look at the request-for-proposals from Metro for a bike share pilot program in downtown L.A. The goal is to have it up and running by next year with stations throughout downtown — including a number of bike share stations near key Metro transit stops. Although some cities in the region are doing their own bike share programs, Metro’s Board instructed the agency to create a regional system and DTLA would be the first location. The current schedule has the Metro Board deciding on a contract in June.
Boehner leaves door open on gas tax proposal (Roll Call)
Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) made it clear that he doesn’t want to raise the gas tax to fund the federal Highway Trust Fund. But he also didn’t rule it out. Temporary funding for the Trust Fund expires in May and Congress must find a way to keep it solvent. The Trust Fund supplies money for transportation projects around the United States, including transit projects.
The political dilemma facing all legislators is that gas is very cheap across the country (I paid $1.83 a gallon in Boehner’s district a couple weeks ago). That could make it a smart time to raise federal taxes or something that would greatly anger motorists and voters.
Related: Washington Post columnist Charles Krauthammer says now is the time to raise the gas tax by $1 a gallon while also cutting Social Security taxes. He says it’s a matter of providing the right incentives to taxpayers. A gas tax increase would incentivize driving less or using more fuel efficient cars while a Social Security tax cut would provide a greater incentive to work. Interesting ideas, but it’s hard to imagine anyone in Congress going for such a major increase — especially in the House, where the next election is always looming.
Metrolink Board Member resigns (L.A. Times)
Carolyn Cavecche, who represents Orange County, said that she’s frustrated with the Board isn’t adequately dealing with the commuter railroad’s ongoing issues and that a plan that could deny chairmanship to a representative from the OC. Metrolink’s CEO recently resigned and there have been other notable departures in the past year. The agency is overseen by a Board comprised of elected officials from the five counties served by Metrolink: Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura.
Categories: Transportation Headlines