The bill, AB 1446 (by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles), still needs to be approved by the State Senate and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. And a majority of the Metro Board of Directors also need to approve sending the issue to Los Angeles County voters.
The Metro Board is scheduled to discuss the issue at their meeting on Thursday morning. The Board may take a vote as early as next month. Here’s a recent post on a Metro staff report about how such an extension may work to accelerate transit and highway projects. Measure R is due to expire in mid-2039; an extension could allow Metro to bond against future revenues to build projects quicker.
Below is the news release from Assemblyman Feuer:
ASSEMBLY APPROVES FEUER LEGISLATION TO EXPEDITE L.A. COUNTY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS
AB 1446 Authorizes L.A. County Metro to Seek Voter Approval for Extension
Of Existing Measure R Sales Tax for Infrastructure Projects
May 21, 2012 (Sacramento) – The California State Assembly has approved AB 1446 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) on a bipartisan vote. The measure would, with voter approval, fund Los Angeles County rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects more quickly, jumpstarting those projects and getting Angelenos back to work.
Specifically, the bill would authorize the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to ask County voters to extend the term of the Measure R sales tax authorization indefinitely. This extension would enable Metro to bond against future Measure R revenue and build transportation projects much sooner than originally contemplated, relying only on local funds.
“We need to get these transportation projects underway as soon as possible,” said Feuer. “By passing AB 1447, we are empowering L.A. County voters to jumpstart 160,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region.”
In Los Angeles County, 336,000 jobs have been lost since 2007, and 582,900 people were unemployed as of October 2011. The construction industry has been hit especially hard; over 53,300 construction jobs have been lost in recent years.
In his first term as an Assembly Member, Feuer authored legislation that allowed Metro, L.A. County’s transportation planning agency, to put Measure R on the 2008 Los Angeles County ballot. Measure R asked voters to approve a 30-year one-half cent sales and use tax dedicated to construction and operation of a specified list of transportation projects.
More than 67 percent of voters approved the measure, which commits approximately $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years. These upgrades will include westward extension of the subway and adding north/south routing to the San Fernando Valley’s Orange Line bus way. AB 1446 would provide an ongoing local source of funding to build projects in Measure R and in Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan.
The measure will next be considered in a Senate policy committee.
Assembly Member Feuer’s website: //www.assembly.ca.gov/feuer