Transportation headlines, Thursday, Nov. 8

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

J's out but is Mayor V daunted? No way! (LA Times)

Gary Toebben, president of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, a major supporter of Measure J, said Tuesday's results dealt “a major setback” to transportation advocates who hoped to take advantage of low interest rates and cheaper construction costs to continue building out the Metro system.

“This was an opportunity to move forward and save money, and we just won't be able to do that,” Toebben said.

Mayor Villaraigosa was more upbeat. “We learned that 65 percent of county voters want a fast-track completion of one of the most ambitious regional transportation plans in the country,” he said, adding that he will go “back to the toolbox” to accelerate several projects, including a subway to the Westside.

L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who is also Metro Board Chair, had a different take: “Despite the big-bucks campaign of distortions, the voters defeated this special interest tax,” he said.

Measure J rejection was not an anti-transit vote (L.A. Streetsblog)

Excerpt from editor Damien Newton:

It’s an article of faith among Metro Board Members and many in the media that ballot measures need to have freeway funding to pass, but most of the opposition to Measure J was because not enough was being spent on transit projects and operations. In the San Gabriel Valley politicians were clambering for more funds for the Gold Line.In South L.A., they wanted more money for the Crenshaw Line. In the San Fernando Valley they wondered why support a transit tax after the Orange Line was built. In the San Gabriel Valley the No on 710 Coalition was fighting funds for the Big Dig. There was no opposition arguing for an 11th lane for the I-405 through the Sepulveda Pass or a new carpool lane on the I-10. The only opposition to Measure J that is also opposed to a transit project and used that as a reason to fight Measure J was the Beverly Hills Unified School District, and they maintain they would support the project if there were a route that did not go under Beverly Hills High School.Some proponents look at the nearly 65% of voters that voted for Measure J as a moral victory. After all, Proposition 30 barely received 50% of the vote and is widely being touted as proof that Californians support public education. If the voter threshold were lower, even down to what passes as a “Super Majority” in legislative houses at 60%, we would be writing a different piece today.

The Measure J campaign focused largely on “traffic relief” without a lot of particulars about the transit side of J. Was that the difference? Hard to say, but Damien may be onto something, as Steve Hymon wrote yesterday.

Near 70 percent of transit measures pass (Metro Magazine)

The Mayor's enthusiasm for building out our region's transit infrastructure seems to reflect national sentiment. By a passage rate of nearly 68.4 percent, voters across the country continued a track record of success for pro-transit measures as 13 of 21 local public transit-related ballot initiatives were approved on Tuesday, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) and the Center for Transportation Excellence (CFTE).

Obama victory likely to preserve Amtrak and highway funding (The Hill)

While it may have seemed that public transit wasn't exactly front and center in this election, many believe that the Obama victory is positive for public transit. Unsuccessful Republican nominee Mitt Romney had pledged to eliminate government funding for Amtrak and GOP vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan's (R-Wis) budget would have limited transportation funding to revenues generated by the federal gas tax. While that money mostly goes to roads, some of it does trickle down to public transit.

How do you capture the San Fernando Valley through art? (LA Weekly)

The Expo Line opening last spring may have snagged all the headlines, but a few months later the Valley debuted its own transit triumph: The Orange Line busway completed its 18-mile route connecting North Hollywood to Chatsworth. The Orange Line has become an internationally recognized and locally beloved institution, and a new exhibition showcases its public art program, explaining the process behind the artworks that are at 18 stations now dotting the San Fernando Valley. The exhibition ends Dec. 13.