Potential ballot measure: report on public polling results

The above presentation was provided to the Metro Board at two committee meetings this week.

Perhaps the major takeaway here is that there’s no substantial difference among respondents when asked how they would vote for a 50 year tax increase versus one that continues in perpetuity. And..perhaps that’s not surprising. Most laws and many tax increases remain on the books until elected officials and/or voters decide to end them. This is no different.

Two other caveats about the results:

•The Board hasn’t yet decided whether to put a new sales tax ballot measure before voters in November. The Board is scheduled to consider that at their June 23 meeting. Two Board committees — Planning and Executive Management — unanimously voted this week in favor of the potential ballot measure.

•Surveys are just that: surveys. There will likely be many factors in play in the November elections, including the issue of turnout and both the positive and negative arguments voters may hear about a potential ballot measure.

Nonetheless, surveys are interesting and this one shows that it’s important to show voters what’s in the plan. In that regard, please spend some time looking at the revised spending plan — this post includes a list and map of the projects the ballot measure would fund.

11 replies

  1. Until the MTA addresses the total gridlock we experience on the east/ west Sunset Bl. / Santa Monica Bl travel corridor I will not only vote against the current proposed measure but also encourage others to do the same. The proposed extension of the Crenshaw Line is nothing but a joke and fails to address the overall problem. Wilshire Bl. crosses Santa Monica Bl. but few autos turn right onto Wilshire from Santa Monica eastbound and none westbound. The Expo Line west terminal is a few blocks from Santa Monica Bl. but becomes several miles near Century City gaining further distance as it travels towards downtown Los Angeles. From Westwood Bl. to La Cienga Bl. there is no north / south bus service to connect Sunset and Santa Monica Bl.’s with the Expo Line. Needless to say, the Expo Line and the Purple Line extension do not serve those traveling on this transit corridor with no alternate route available. The westside was developed with the expectation that the two freeway would be built. After extensive study, planning and property acquisition the freeway was killed by Governor Jerry Brown. From Santa Monica Bl. and Centenela to the Hollywood Freeway is a three hour journey.


  2. Given that some 10, 000, 000 people live in the LA metro area, I think a 1400+ voter sample was pretty stingy. That said, what did the Metro-paid pollster find out? About the same number of voters would support a 50 year sales tax increase as would support a Forever sales tax increase. Of course they would, because given the life span of a voter (starting at age 18) 50 years and forever are really the same! How much did Metro pay their pollster for that mind-bending calculation? The real question is: shall the sale tax increase be for 5 years, 10 years or 15 years–not a lifetime. This way the voters would have some control over Metro if it screws-up like spending $5-$10 billion on the 710 toll tunnel to Alhambra. Voting on a Metro measure in order to express one’s democratic ideals sweeps under the rug the real power the voters deserve–that of the DIRECT election of Metro’s board members. That’s the measure that should be on the ballot!

    • 1400 is a fair sample for a political poll of single county; nationwide presidential polls often only poll around 1000 people and rarely sample more than 5000.

  3. What Metro needs to do is to publish colorful PDF documents that “flesh out” what is planned, providing a brief description of each proposed improvement, benefits, and the rationale for each. Maps and sketches would enhance the presentations. There could be separate such documents for each of Metro’s service areas.

    I know I would be among those who would avidly read them. In the case of the New York MTA, this helped get State approval for the $30 billion program..

    It is appreciated that this may delay placing the issue on the ballot, but I feel that the better people are informed the better the chances are for voter approval.

    Examples of similar Amtrak and New York MTA documents may be found at:

    Amtrak Northeast Corridor Five Year (2016 -2020) Capital Plan — http://www.nec-commission.com/five-year-capital-plan/report/Northeast%20Corridor%20Five-Year%20Capital%20Plan.pdf

    New York MTA Five Year (2016 -2020) Capital Plan — http://web.mta.info/capital/pdf/MTA_15-19_Capital%20Plan_Board_WEB%20Approved%20v2.pdf

    LOSSAN Corridorwide Strategic Implementation Plan — http://www.sandag.org/uploads/projectid/projectid_260_14371.pdf


  4. You might run into the issue of the “i got mine so i don’t care about others”. Which is whats to gain from existing riders voting to tax themselves further once their section is finished

  5. I’m not going to vote on this if the plan calls for more freeway projects. And there has to be a provision there that Metro needs to find more ways to cut costs and make money on their own instead of coming back to taxpayers all the time. Why are we even subsidizing car drivers with free parking and why are we even building parking at Metro stations, for example. All of those are waste, waste that could be cut down and redevelop those lands into money makers like a mixed use high rise condo and commercial area. By adding more residences, it’ll help reduce our sky high real estate prices in LA and will encourage people to walk to the station instead of driving there, making our air quality much better.

    We need to re-envision LA as a place where there are high rise condos everywhere and people can just get around walking and biking, where public transit is great and self-sustaining, instead of this ugly suburban sprawl where people have to have a car to get around and being the laughing stock of the world when it comes to public transit. Our system, planning and way of thinking has to change, we’re like 50 years behind every other modern city in the world. We’re never going to get the Olympics if things still remain the same.

    • I won’t vote yes for the plan *unless* it has adequate funding for Metrolink and freeway projects. We need to stop treating Metrolink like a red-headed stepchild.

  6. In reality, Sales Taxes should NEVER be used to cover freeway projects such as the ongoing I-5 and the I-710 upgrade projects. The fact that Caltrans is not doing its job is no excuse for a regressive form of taxation. Metro can and should have inputs to these projects, but these projects should be funded 100% by Caltrans..

    I realize that Metro had to include highway projects in its plan in order to gain more support, but the need to include them should never have been necessary if Caltrans had the funds to do its job..

    Even Tax-Adverse Orange County had to resort to a Sales Tax (Measure M) to rebuild the I-5 within Orange County because Caltrans did not have the money to do what it is supposed to do..

    What really needs be done is to either increase the Gas Tax or go to “miles traveled” system where the motorists who drive the most pay more than those who don’t.

    Finally, it appears that Metro and Caltrans are studying the much-needed SR-710 gap closure project (https://www.metro.net/projects/sr-710-conversations/ ), but I don’t remember if closing the SR-710 gap is part of Metro’s current plan. It definitely should not be. Instead, unless it can be fully funded by state and US funds, it should be a toll road, probably underground, project, and NEVER funded by Sales Taxes.

    • If car drivers go to a “miles traveled” system, then so should Metro. It’s not like fare-by-the-distance isn’t a new concept either. With the Expo Line to Santa Monica open, the Regional Connector under construction, and the Gold Line extension to Azusa, why should one Metro rider pay the same price to go over 40 miles versus another Metro rider paying the same exact price to go two or three stations away? If you travel far, pay more, if you travel short pay less. That’s the fare system that works with great results in the rest of the world, we’re the stupid ones who thinks taxes should foot the bill to run transit.