How We Roll, June 14: first wave of stories on revised ballot measure

Art of Transit or Whatever: 

Smile! It's not Monday anymore. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Smile! It’s not Monday anymore. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Metro officials hope to pass half-cent sales tax that would not expire (LAT)

Metro seeks permanent transit tax to raise billions to fix gridlock (Daily News et al)

Metro CEO announces revised November sales tax proposal (Streetsblog LA)

Metro wants to extend transit tax indefinitely to fund billions in projects (KPCC)

Metro revises potential transit ballot initiative (Urbanize.LA)

L.A. Metro wants sales tax hike to last forever (Curbed LA)

Only one of the five above headlines used ‘forever’ — the over/under was at least three!

All the above articles are good roundups of the revised spending plan Metro released Friday for its potential ballot measure that seeks to raise the countywide sales tax by a half-cent and extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax beyond its mid-2039 expiration. The Metro Board is scheduled to consider putting it on the November ballot at their June 23 meeting.

The original plan released in March was for 40 years with options for longer scenarios, whereas the revision dropped expiration dates. Of course, it’s worth noting that two half-cent sales taxes approved by L.A. County voters in 1980 and ’90 (Prop A and Prop C, respectively) also have no expiration dates. They stay on the books until voters decide to end them. Measure R, approved by county voters in 2008, was a 30-year tax that began July 1, 2009, and is set to end on June 30, 2039.

This page on shows how Props A and C and Measure R are used. I think it’s worth noting: that all three taxes only make so much money available for construction of new projects and agencies such as Metro use these kind of taxes because the agency is not allowed to run budget deficits to fund big projects. I’m sure some folks will say three taxes is enough, whereas other folks would say Props A and C and Measure R helped get Metro from zero miles of rail prior to 1990 to the 105 miles that we have today — a number that doesn’t include the three projects under construction (the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line, the 3.9-mile first section of the Purple Line subway extension and the 1.9-mile Regional Connector to link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines).

If the potential ballot measures makes it to voters, it would need two-thirds approval to pass. That is always a tough hurdle. The LAT and Daily News articles look at some potential supporters and opponents and what they like and don’t like.

Big Blue Bus launching cab service for Expo’s 17th St/SMC Station (SaMo Daily Press)


This is smart. The $3 cab rides have to begin/end at the station and must be within the above zone. The cab runs from 8 p.m. to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. See the story at above link for more details.

What is the third Los Angeles? (KCET)

Definitely read this — I think it accurately describes where L.A. is, where L.A. was and where L.A. may be going. Excerpt:

What is the Third Los Angeles?

Essentially it’s a shorthand, a way of describing the new civic identity that Los Angeles is working, and often struggling, to establish.

It’s a way of suggesting that many of the most stubborn cliches and stereotypes about L.A. and Southern California are crumbling or being held up for new scrutiny. Increasingly the city and region are taking real, measurable and often controversial steps to move past the building blocks of post-war Los Angeles, including the private car, the freeway, the single-family house and the lawn.

The road less traveled? Not since WAZE came to Los Angeles (KPCC)

Some are convinced the app is to blame for more cut-through traffic. But transportation officials in the city of L.A. are not convinced, saying there may be other factors. Either way, who cares — people are seeking shortcuts because some of the arterials are so clogged up with traffic.

Can a high-speed rail line be built from Rochester to the Twin Cities without any public money? (MinnPost)

Almost certainly not, but some so-called investors and rail backers can convince a journalist to write a long story about it anyway. 🙂







7 replies

  1. You wrote: ‘The over/under was at least 3’. I don’t understand that.

    YORKMAN LOWE 510 601 9675

  2. Just what I thought would happen, the proposals for a new transit sales tax have now gone from decades to FOREVER! The well-employed Metro Board members are up-front about transferring the bulk of the transit tax burden onto the backs of the low income folks–most of their riders–until Kingdom come. There is true democracy here, if you vote for the this regressive sales tax and it passes then you know and deserve what you will get. As for me, I’ll vote NO on Metro! Nothing personal Phil.

    • In today’s dollars, the average cost per person in the county for an additional half-cent sales tax per year is $24 or 7 cents a day. This is not a tax on real estate, transit or raw food, due to this the average low income person will pay less than 7 cents a day more in sales tax. For that additional sales tax they will in return get more rail transit lines that will enable them to reach jobs further from where they live, which will give them more opportunity for employment and schools that are more easily accessible. This additional sales tax will also ensure that they have to pay less in transit fees compared to if it were not approved by voters.

      For people who drive, this sales tax measure will give additional money to cities that can be used to repair roads. Currently car owners are paying hundreds of dollars in additional repair costs per year because of the poor condition of roads in cities in the county. This sales measure will enable cities such as Burbank and Los Angeles to have funds to dedicate to making expensive repairs on D and F condition roads. Without those additional funds roads in poor condition will remain that way for a longer period of time, resulting in thousands of dollars of additional repair costs for every motorist who drive on these roads that are in poor condition.

      To state that you get what you deserve if you vote yes for this sales tax measure means that you will likely get roads in better average condition than if you vote no.

      • My doubt that much will change for the better in the LA Basin with a Forever transit sales tax increase is based on a nearly life long relationship with LA and California. Does any one believe that building a new freeway thru the desert with “pin money” left over from a Forever transit sales tax is more useful than putting more tax money into education? Metro has a long history of lavish misuse of public funds starting with the Taj Mahal (the Metro Building to you young’ins) and its bronze planters. (However, the paintings inside the Taj get a pass because the artist did a darn good job–for a “public” arts project.) A tax increase must have a limit because it is the only realistic way for the public to keep “vanity” projects (packed with electioneering funds) from becoming the burden of we the shrinking middle and working classes. Since the public cannot DIRECTLY vote for each member of the the Metro Board the situation we have is a little bit like the Stamp Act of 1765 that started the Revolution. Let’s do a Trump–I will hold my nose and support/vote for the Forever sale tax and the Metro Board will become a directly elected independent body. I guess I’ll be holding my nose Forever–eh?

  3. “Last time around, the Valley got short-changed,” Hertzberg said, echoing concerns of Valley residents. When asked whether he would ask his constituents to vote against the tax, he said he would “cross that bridge when we come to it.”

    The Valley still forgets there ban and opposition…