New details on potential ballot measure

A new Metro staff report is now available that details the agency’s ongoing work to update its long-range transportation plan (LRTP). As part of that effort, Metro is looking at a sales tax ballot measure in 2016 to raise money to build projects in the plan.

The measure Metro is contemplating would ask voters to consider a new half-cent sales tax for 40 years (from mid-2017 until mid-2057) and extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax until 2057 — 18 years beyond its current expiration date. More on that below.

Before we go further: I need to emphasize that nothing has yet been decided about whether to put a measure on the ballot, nor have final decisions been made about projects and programs a ballot measure could fund. Please keep that in mind as I walk you through the new staff report. Those decisions will ultimately be made in the first half of 2016 by the 13-member Metro Board of Directors.

I want to start with some quick background that’s important: Metro relies very heavily on sales taxes in order to run its day-to-day operations and build new projects, among other things. Voters in Los Angeles County have approved half-cent sales tax increases in 1980 (Prop A), 1990 (Prop C) and 2008 (Measure R) to help fund Metro. Measure R was a 30-year sales tax that expires in mid-2039 whereas Prop A and Prop C remain in effect until voters decide to end them. (A longer description of the taxes is here).

The three taxes together will bring in about $2.29 billion this fiscal year, or about 41 percent of Metro’s annual budget. While Measure R is funding Metro’s current transit expansion (there are five rail projects under construction, with two opening next year – Expo Line Phase 2 and the Gold Line Foothill Extension), the three taxes still do not provide enough money to build many long-sought transportation projects.

Thus, the reason that Metro has been looking at updating its long-range plan and a potential ballot measure. As for the new staff report and a new potential ballot measure, here are the essentials:

•After being asked by Metro to list their transportation priorities, local governments, facilities and stakeholders in Los Angeles County provided a list of 2,300 projects that would cost $156 billion to $273 billion in today’s dollars to build.

•In response to those needs, Metro is looking at a Nov. 2016 ballot measure that would ask voters in L.A. County to raise the sales tax by a half-cent for 40 years (from mid-2017 until mid-2057) and extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax until 2057 — 18 years beyond its current expiration date.

•Such an approach would raise an estimated $120 billion (in year-of-expenditure dollars) between 2017 and 2057. That money can be used to attract state and federal grants that will likely raise the $120 billion total.

•Metro is estimating that about half of the $120 billion will be used for new transportation projects (active, transit and highway). The funds will be distributed to the nine subregions in Los Angeles County using a formula that emphasizes population and employment in each subregion.

See the final page of the report below to see a map of the subregions and to see how the funding breaks down by subregion (page 5):

•And the remainder of the $120 billion? Metro is looking at putting aside money for a number of other programs, including local return to the 88 cities and unincorporated areas of L.A. County, transit operations, state-of-good repair projects and funding for regional transportation facilities. A key point: this is money that will be used to help operate and maintain new projects that are built.

•Below are the priority projects submitted by each subregion. The charts also show how much the projects would cost in today’s dollars and how much may be available for those projects from a new sales tax — again, in today’s dollars.

•Metro will be working with each of the subregions in the coming months to refine these lists. THE LISTS ARE NOT FINAL! The projects submitted by the subregions will be evaluated by Metro based on the criteria in Attachment A (below) to determine which projects provide the most bang for the buck, so to speak. This is data that stakeholders and the Metro Board can use to determine which projects should be funded.

•It’s also worth noting that some of the projects listed in Attachment D also have funding from Measure R . The idea is to combine funds from Measure R and a new sales tax  to have enough money to build these projects.

•As part of the long-range plan update process, below are projects submitted by regional transportation facilities (airports, ports and Union Station, which is owned by Metro) for possible inclusion in the LRTP. ‘Unconstrained’ means that the facilities didn’t have to consider funding limits.

•Below is a very long report that shows the input received from the subregions, transportation facilities and many other stakeholders that Metro asked for input on the long-range plan update and potential ballot measure:

•Under the current timeline (below), the Metro Board would vote on a ballot measure framework in December. Metro staff are planning to release a final expenditure plan and ballot measure ordinance in March of 2016. Metro’s Board of Directors would vote on whether to put the measure on the November ballot in June.

Attachment F - Roadmap

Again, the staff report does not require a Board vote. The report and the attachments are scheduled to be discussed at the Board’s Planning Committee at 2 p.m. Wednesday and the Executive Management Committee at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at Metro headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. If you would like to listen online, a link to the live audio stream will appear here when the meetings begin.

One other note: The Executive Management Committee will also consider another item asking the Board to amend the budget of Metro’s Communications Department to add $2.75 million for an education campaign on the long-range plan update. Staff report


Governor Brown signs bill that would allow Metro to pursue ballot measure

May update: Metro continues to pursue potential ballot measure

Metro Board to consider beginning to develop potential ballot measure for 2016

44 replies

  1. Your talking about extending MTA lines into BBB operating area. They will not allow it. And as long as the BBB operates a line on Wilshire Bl. during the day the MTA will not extend the 20 line or any other line. After 12 midnight is another story. The MTA extends both the 4 line and 20 line to the beach

  2. WIlshire Blvd in Santa Monica needs a new Metro Local Bus because everybody is not taking the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 2 because of the low ridership and that means nobody rides that route anymore I think Line 156 should be a opition to extend from Van Nuys Orange Line Station to 4th/Colorado Expo Line Station along Wilshire Blvd to 4th St. I hope Line 156 will extend from Van Nuys Orange Line Station to 4th/Colorado Expo Line Station along Wilshire Blvd and 4th St and discontinued Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 2 due to low ridership and another option Line 108 should extend from Pico Rivera to 4th/Colorado Expo Line Station and Line 110 should also extend from Bell Gardens to 4th/Colorado Expo Line Station I hope they could invent that plan for the Westside area since The Expo Line Station in Santa Monica will be opening soon.

  3. Looks like Torrance needs to get together and think about whats best for their city and get the ball rolling. Everyone doesn’t understand every issue, but understanding your city’s transit culture (past & present) will also help people understand why they are in the situation they are in. (I left South Bay because it didn’t suit my needs in 2005) Some cities are pro-active, and some cities are reactive. Torrance has very little transit pro-activity like much of the South Bay. The odd thing about Torrance is that its the biggest city in the South Bay I believe, yet hardly even has freeways too. That’s gotta tell you something about the past, and how Hawthorne Blvd is designated as the 107 but is not a highway. PCH also goes through Torrance, also not a highway necessarily. I’m not sure Torrance would be the city it is today with Highways crossing it. Its a nice place! But meanwhile, builders in E. Torrance have managed to put homes on top of the right of way along Vermont and what I think is Torrance Blvd. If I were a resident of that city and I saw this, i’d be pretty disappointed (just like when the Belmont tunnel was not re-used in Los Angeles, or any right of way is essentially jacked by developers). Only Further East at the 110 can you get a decent bus downtown. I’ve always thought though “Why doesn’t a rail line run down the 110 fwy?”

    Torrance has plenty of right of ways. Many of them belong to freight lines but used to be for public transit. Ever notice the Craftsman style homes near Torrance Blvd east of Hawthorne? Evidence of a connection to old Los Angeles. Redondo has some similarities too. I’m again flattered that people are attempting to discredit what i’m typing, and even asking what they should or can do, I cant say. What I will tell you is that when its time to vote, I have all 88 cities in mind, not just my area. I’m already in an A rated side of town for transit and walkability (my station just got graded as one of the best in the system). Why should I pay a higher tax if I don’t need too? My area is the model already. Well, because Matt might want to catch a train from his side to my side for drinks and not have to worry about driving back a lil too happy for Torrance P.D’s liking, and i’m happy to help him do that. Who knows, I may want to visit Torrance more often, if I could get a train there.

  4. “and have more of a “Whats best for my City.” mentality, we can see progress”

    You’re right. I mean, I reside in Los Angeles County, but my city is City of Torrance. So naturally, what’s best for my city is that I want some Metro Rail to come here that will give me better access to LAX and DTLA, some more Metro bus presence here than the Torrance Transit monopoly, and figure out a way to alleviate the traffic that sucks along Hawthorne Blvd. here.

    But, I see no definitive plans to bring Metro Rail here with more Metro Bus services or any sort of plans to alleviate traffic along Hawthorne Blvd. so why should I support this measure?

    • The Green Line Extension to Crenshaw Blvd. in Torrance is in the plan for Measure R2 (at least so far), so no idea what you are talking about.

      • Actually I could understand his concerns.

        The Green Line Extension to Crenshaw can be looked as a train to nowhere because it completely misses the Del Amo Fashion Center and Torrance Memorial Medical Center. These two are also big employers in the region. And it is true that the north-south corridor along Hawthorne Blvd. does have heavy street traffic between Artesia to PCH; it’s also designated as State Route 107.

        I could understand from a Torrance perspective that a resident living and working within Torrance, they would want easier, less stressful mass transit access along Hawthorne Blvd., especially with the expansions and renovations going on at Del Amo with more stores, possibly might also have the potential to remove some of the parking there to build a TODs right at Del Amo and Torrance Memorial being the 2nd largest employer in Torrance with over 3,000 employees working there.

  5. When it comes to transit, if people would get out of the “Whats best for me?” and have more of a “Whats best for my City.” mentality, we can see progress, but until then not much will move (pun). If this stance would’ve been takin in 91, the 818 code would have a proper rail system. Freeways are dead, expensive, and huge polluters; so much to a point that there are cities that are tearing them down and creating parks instead.

    I’m not going to ignore the fact that Metro has invested in freeways through Measure R. Look at the 5 fwy south. Forget the 2 freeway, they didn’t want it, and it would’ve been a huge neighborhood destroyer. East L.A. has dealt with this for too long with the 10,60,710,5 and 101 dicing it all up.

    I ask:

    How is a 14 year old supposed to get around independent of their parents? Lets not forget the legal working age is younger than the driving age. What do they do?… The “Me and my” mentality has blinded people. Forget that mentality and help everyone help everyone. Lets make this city world class, and stop comparing it to world class cities. I for one am not moving out, as tough of a pill that is to swallow. I could easily defect, and go to a city with a better transit system, cheaper cost of living, and seasons. I refuse. I love where I was born. I just happen to have really ignorant neighbors that refuse to critically think about how transit should work, and in all honesty, many of you don’t want a bus stop, or even a freeway exit at your front door. So lets move it forward, get it right, and work together. My stance is to be one less car, so I have the right to patronize every motorist/naysayer I know or interact with. My journey is always longer than yours. But you know what, I’ve got so much time to think, reflect, chat with friends & family via email, sleep, and even make new friends on metro. Some of the best jokes are had in transit, while many drivers are gunning for each others heads. Most of all quit arguing about how we should all get around. New measures benefit you more than you think. My taxes have gone to improve roads since day one, why cant it be the other way around now?

    Lets get this passed, not for us, but for the future of Los Angeles.

    • “When it comes to transit, if people would get out of the “Whats best for me?” and have more of a “Whats best for my City.” mentality, we can see progress, but until then not much will move (pun).”

      Unfortunately, your line of thinking doesn’t work already because “what’s best for my city” is already the fact of life with the 88 different cities in LA County who all work independently with each other and do not work together.

      The fact that LA County already has 88 different cities shows there’s 88 different thoughts to how to best run their own city. You’re not going to get a consensus with everyone of them electing their own mayor, their own city council, who all think what’s best for their own residents.

      If you want that, then I suggest you first focus your attention to united all the 88 cities in LA into one large consolidated city-county like San Francisco or St. Louis.

      Until then, LA County will try to pass a tax measure in which City of Santa Monica, City of Beverly Hills, City of Culver City and the unincorporated area of Marina del Rey may not see eye-to-eye with City of Compton, City of Maywood, City of Cudahy, and City of Vernon and equally City of Torrance, City of Redondo Beach, City of Gardena may think differently as well.

      In order for Metro to gain the support of the more moderate, libertarian, and conservative voters, they will need to make some concessions. That being said, it will mean Metro may have to give into ideas that you may not like.

      • ” If you want that, then I suggest you first focus your attention to unite(d)* all the 88 cities in LA into one large consolidated city-county like….”

        Which is why I vote on COUNTY WIDE measures because that is whats best for MY CITY. I am also sick of people from Torrance parking on my street to go to Dodger games. Los Angeles is the Center, no matter how you spin it. Those municipalities you llsted have the freedom to spend on the projects they chose, street widening, signal sync, better buses, or whatever they see fit for THEIr CITY. Nay sayers get nothing passed and traffic gets worse (The Valley is a great example). You can turn this into a poltical party deal, and all that does is splinter true progress. Inglewood, Santa Monica, El Segundo, Redondo, Compton, Norwalk, Lynwood, and others all made a choice; “people want to come here, and we need to make options.” They figured we can benefit more if we have a multi mode system that allows people to access our city through different methods. No one needs to redraw the borders. Working together means losing your identity only if you fear it, or are just completely stubborn.

        As a person that lives in the city, and travels west to work, why should I be a car coming through YOUR neighborhood if it doesn’t have to be? Why should I snag a parking spot from a local? I don’t get where people feel smarter rattling of political parties, its rubbish. I’ve ridden trains with Engineers for Northrop, Velocify, and Raytheon; conservatives if you will. So the harsh reality is that someone like yourself may not vote on this just because, well, stubbornness. That’s okay, you have the freedom to feel that way. Last time I checked though, we are all in this together. Suburbanites travel into my neck much more often then I do there’s for leisure (Well the beach, but I chose Venice South of Washington), and Id love if they had an ease of a time getting in and out. (not the burger)

        Every city that has had public transit improved, has usually benfited; which again is why this is a COUNTY WIDE measure, where people may come to terms and think, “Whats best for my city?”.

        Truth be told you absolutely can get a consensus; people want to be mobile, and NO ONE WANTS TO SIT IN TRAFFIC. Show me someone who does and I’ll show you a fool. Culver City got it right, now they’re enjoying the fruits of the vote, and will soon be connected to Santa Monica and Downtown Los Angeles. It didn’t take some Mayoral meeting. So, spare the pseudo Poli Sci rhettoric, and be logical.

        St Louie and SF are about the size of Long Beach by the way, while Los Angeles is about ten times that. I’ve been on the transit issue since this site was just a segment in L.A. Times, I’ve heard it all, but in the end MOBILITY WINS. Set your ideals aside. I also hate direct arguments here and rarely address anything negative or “trolly”, not to be confused with a Trolley, another transp system.

        Your approach is flattering though. Cheers. -THE REAL TRANSIT RIDER

      • “if people would get out of the “Whats best for me?””

        yet on the other hand,

        “because that is whats best for MY CITY.”

        Please explain why it’s okay for you to tell others that they should stop saying “what’s best for me” while it’s totally okay for you to say “it’s best for my city.”

        Just wanted to point out the hypocrisy there.

  6. Study and future implementation of distance based fares should definitely be put on the tax measure. Any logic minded person can foresee that there is no way Metro can continue to run a system under flat rate fares and that with the sheer size of what LA Metro has to cover and the continued expansive growth of the rail system. We cannot continue to keep raising fares and expect people to pay the same price regardless they’re going a mile or 50 miles, where it costs the same $1.75 going from all the way from the Santa Monica to DTLA as opposed to the same $1.75 to go from Koreatown to DTLA. It’s more logical to have a fare structure where SaMo to DTLA should be a $3.00 ride while K-Town to DTLA should be a $1.00 ride. Flat rate systems may work for geographically smaller cities like New York or San Francisco. LA however, is too big and spread out to be kept running under a same flat rate fare.

    I’d also propose that the tax measure should also have some portion be used to constantly upgrade and implement new ideas for TAP. A lot of people have raised issues with TAP’s online system, how funds aren’t showing up in a timely manner, how TAP can be integrated with NFC smartphone payments, and even expanding the uses of TAP to providing basic financial services for the unbanked.

    I know there are some people out there who hate technology and have a disdain for the youth culture but we can’t keep running Metro using ancient methods that are slower and so out of date with the techno-lifestyle of today.

  7. As Metro considers introducing a new measure to increase the sales tax again and/or extend Measure R, Metro should remember that sales taxes generally affect those with lower incomes the most. For this reason, Metro should remember to not over focus on building rail in higher income areas at the expense of more transit-dependent areas. A key consideration would be to not continue increasing rail operating hours while keeping bus operating hours stagnant, or worse, implementing further cuts. Part of the tax increase should go towards replacing some of the service cut over the past several years. A final point I would like to make is that this new tax should include taking out the proposed fare increases. Increasing the sales tax and simultaneously increasing fares drastically is a very big burden. Please keep these points in mind if Metro wishes for the ballot measures to have a chance at passing, especially with the very high approval threshold needed, and the fact that this is already the third ballot measure asking for a tax increase in the last 7 years.

  8. New taxes and measures are solely for funding new projects. I normally wouldn’t mind but, as of late we’ve seen the dark side of this that once Metro focuses on expanding the rail network, they tend to let the existing infrastructure go to disarray at the same time.

    Thanks to Measure R, we’re getting Expo Phase II, Foothill Extension, Crenshaw Line and the Regional Connector. Great.

    The bad side to this is that the state of the Blue, Green, Gold and Red Lines have turned into brush offs that aren’t at the priority list of Metro operations. The existing infrastructure still needs to be maintained and operated and you can’t let those go into the state of disarray either, which is the case why we have so much maintenance issues with the Blue, Green and Gold Lines and the Red Lines have become defacto homeless shelters with high fare evasion rates thanks to unsecured wheelchair gates.

    If Metro wishes to have a long range plan, they need to do better in explaining how they intend to balance new projects without jeopardizing the maintenance and operations of the existing lines.

    • Hi LAX Frequent Flyer;

      Absolutely there have been service issues. I think it’s worth noting that there are ongoing maintenance projects on all the rail lines.

      I also think it’s worth emphasizing that under the scenario discussed for the potential ballot measure, about half the money would be set aside for things such as state of good repair, operations, etc. I think people here understand that it’s not enough to just build something, but to also have funding available for maintaining, rebuilding in the future.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Very well put.

      You need money to build infrastructure, but the buck doesn’t stop once it’s all built. Money still is needed to keep the existing trains, BRT, and buses running. And this problem will continue unless Metro starts making enough money on their own and becomes independent of taxes.

      What Metro could do however, is start moving in that direction where they are able to become more independent and reduce taxpayer burden. Currently, Metro relies over 70% of their annual budget to be comped by taxes. If Metro can reduce that to 50% or less, then it would be a lot better for taxpayers in the long run and will be on the track to becoming a more independent Metro.

      If there is to be a long range plan, Metro needs to gain the support of the more libertarian/moderate Metro riders who are pro-transit, but aren’t keen to the idea of “more taxes, more regulation” rhetoric that is used as the usual cattle call of social democrats and far-left liberals these days. I suggest that if there is to be a county ballot measure next year, Metro should back away from the noisy minority demands and that they seriously consider using taxes to study and implement the ideas that have been suggested time and time again.

      1. Having retail and businesses directly at the train stations will help create additional revenues to the system, create new jobs, help spur the local economy, adding additional sales tax revenues, while giving an added benefit of safer stations than just being some concrete island platform that does absolutely nothing. Some stations will need to be upgraded to accommodate this but it is a well worth investment in the long run to upgrade stations so they can start making their own money to help pay for maintenance at their stations.

      2. If some taxes are needed to convert some free parking lots into paid lots, then that option should be explored. Parking lots are expensive to maintain and the worst use of limited land space in LA today. They do need to start generating revenue to help defray the cost of maintaining and securing those parking lots. By doing so, it may require investment in things like parking meters, those “do not back up severe tire damage” spikes, pole gates, and someway of tying that into paying parking fees with TAP or ExpressLanes transponders, then those are good investments to spend taxes on.

      3. Many stations are still left ungated and will remain ungated unless upgrades are done to their stations. This can be done concurrently with #1.

      4. Since it’s a long range plan, that in which even the skeptics agree that a more profitable distance based fares should be looked at in the long run, and that by that time the Regional Connector will be open and it will be possible for a rider to go from Santa Monica to Azusa or Long Beach to East LA on a single flat rate fare and that it will not make any fiscal sense that the same price applies to going to the neighborhood supermarket, the study of moving Metro to a more profitable and sustainable, distance based fares should be taken into serious consideration as noted by former Metro CEO Art Leahy, UCLA Professor Brian Taylor, City of LA Councilman Mike Bonin, City of Duarte Councilman John Fasana, Supervisor Sheila Kuehl, and Supervisor Hilda Solis in the APTA fare review panel meeting earlier this year. Implementing distance based fares is costly. Luckily, we got half that problem done by installing gates. But we need a completely gated system, hence that this idea goes concurrently with #1 and #3. If distance based fares were to be phased into BRT and buses, taxes should be used to install additional TAP readers in the rear doors. Taxes should be allocated to study and implement a distance based fare system in the future.

      You do this, Metro might be able to get enough votes from the moderates. If not and it’s the same status quo over again where the only answer is keep throwing taxes at Metro without any recourse of Metro finding new revenue sources, Metro might see the disappointment again with the Measure J that narrowly failed to pass in 2012.

      • You don’t need a completely gated system for distance-based fares: Caltrain does just fine with zone-based fares, mandatory tag on/tag off, and no gates.

  9. I guess I hadn’t been paying nearly as much attention, but it seems that what Metro wants is actually yet another new sales tax and not just an extension of the 0.5% Measure R into the far future. Given that sales taxes are inherently regressive, I am not in favor of a new tax. Has Metro explored the possibility of a new property tax instead? Many of our region’s transit issues result from poor planning and land use decisions, and many property owners are making out like bandits under Prop. 13.

  10. Metro has deservingly lost the faith of voters in the San Fernando Valley. It is nice to see them pay lip service to the 15% of the county whom they serve, but as Metro has made no effort to make right the billions in non-returned taxes paid by the SFV to Metro as part of Measure R and the transit taxes before, I see no reason to increase Metro’s budget at all.

    Perhaps if the SFV projects get #1 priority and full funding in the tax measure’s language, I’ll vote for it. Otherwise, I hope Metro fails to get the 2/3rds voter approval so I can keep my pocket change to pay for gas… ’cause my car is the only option I have while Metro builds trains for the rest of the county.

    • Kind of hard to blame Metro for lack of rail in the Valley. The Valley made it illegal to build light rail where the Orange Line runs when Measure R passed and the Sepulveda Pass project needs the Purple Line to reach at least Westwood before it is viable. Wouldn’t make any sense to build a rail line that doesn’t connect to the rest of the system. An extension of the Red Line to the Burbank Airport and its Metrolink lines would have been the only viable project in Measure R, but the Valley has never really gotten behind that project.

      Remember Measure R and this Measure is not just a rail building measure. Much of the money went to Metrolink, Freeways, bus lines like the Orange Line and Local Return with only a smaller portion going to Metrorail construction. One such project is double tracking the Ventura/Pacific Surfliner rail line in the Valley for a safer more reliable operation, but this has been opposed by Northridge homeowners.

  11. 1) Can someone please clarify what the item labeled “Traffic Congestion Relief and Improvement” for ~$1.3B, in the Arroyo Verdugo region would specifically entail? Is this just more road widening and traffic lights synced to maximize top speed for commuters? And if so, how does Metro square these goals with seemingly counterintuitive policies like Vision Zero and Mobility Plan 2035?

    2) Also, why aren’t these regions divided up equally in land size? Seems to me they should be, or at the very least, acreage should be taken into consideration to ensure revenue is being spent relative to actual productivity of land use. For example, the “North County” region is receiving what seems to be a rather generous double portion of revenue, merely because of the maps being drawn wider in their favor. Makes very little sense (economically, or even from a voter block perspective.)

    • * I might’ve confused myself with the math on my second question… but just want to be sure tax revenue is being spent where it’s being generated, before voting for another tax increase 😉

  12. I am pleasantly surprised to see the Green Line extension to Norwalk on the list. I am also surprised that this is a priority project submitted by the Gateway Cities subregion. I thought they were opposed to this extension. This is one of the most critical missing links in the region.

  13. It’s interesting to see the priorities of the county’s airports. LAX is spending billions on some “LAX Expressway” and more concrete for freeway connections into the airport, while Burbank is spending money on train lines and Long Beach is requesting money for bike access (!)

    • There’s a discrepancy between attachments C and E regarding LAX: The 1.5 billion for connecting the automated people mover to the central terminal area in attachment C does not appear in attachment E. All the other figures for LAX match between the attachments (using the “Estimated Maximum Cost” column in attachment C).

  14. “Oppose any tax increases and extension of current sales tax”? You imply we need to build more freeways or at least have allowed what was on the books to be built, Building more roads and more freeways is absolutely not the solution to our current traffic debacle and will only induce further demand. Vehicular traffic, as in any other major urbanized area, all suffer from severe daily congestion. This is due to the sheer fact that automobiles are not as efficient at moving large numbers of people as that of mass transit. There is no solution to reducing congestion unless we reduce the number of vehicles or implement a congestion pricing scheme on freeways or roads.

    The only alternative as every major global metropolitan area is to have a comprehensive mass transit system. We need to focus on building a larger mass transit system, change zoning laws around areas served by Metro stations to allow for very dense and walkable neighborhoods, and continue to build mixed-use developments in those areas. Couple this with pedestrian friendly human scale streets and protected bike lanes, we will be able to accommodate future growth but not at the expense of additional vehicles on the road. This is really a vote for a Los Angeles region that promotes mobility options other than just the automobile.

    • “The only alternative as every major global metropolitan area is to have a comprehensive mass transit system.”

      A different perspective is that we now know thanks to the internet that there are also major global metropolitan areas that have built and currently runs an excellent mass transit system without taxes by going through the privatization or semi-privatization of mass transit. One can look at the growth of cities in Asia such as Tokyo (which has had multiple privatized mass transit since the late 19th century), Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Singapore which have been running semi-privatized mass transit.

      So the question then becomes, if there are cities that have built excellent mass transit systems without pouring so much taxpayer money into it, why should we pile ourselves with more taxes when we can start looking at alternative, revenue making approaches like having Metro make their own money to build up their own capital through things like value capture of real estate, increased mixed uses of train stations, becoming a retailer themselves by opening up more Metro stores at transit stations, moving to a more profitable fare structure such as distance based fares, moving into the banking sector for the unbanked via the use of TAP cards, ending free parking, and so forth?

      Metro can become a retailer, real estate developer, and a financial institution, make tremendous profit from those businesses and use the revenues from those to fund their own transit services. And it’s pretty obvious that Walmart, Trump Organization, and Bank of America are far more profitable businesses to be in than running Metro.

      • Exactly!!!

        Metro, it’s time you learned how to run transit like a business. Stop begging taxpayers for more money all the time. Yeah, and don’t think you can try to deceive voters with salami slicing catchphrases like “oh, it’s only amounts to a buck per day, less than a price of a lunch, so you can clearly afford that can’t you?”

        If it’s only a buck, then you should learn how to make a buck yourself. You can clearly change those free parking lots into paid parking lot that charges a buck per day, can’t you?

        Let’s not forget the obvious that never pops up: make some cutbacks yourself. Stop giving yourself pay raises, Metro executives clearly can get by with a $10,000 a year pay cut, go get a 401k like everyone else instead of having taxpayers fund CalPERS, stop wasting taxpayer dollars in things like $480,000 mobile prison towers and $1.2 million dollar “mobile command” RVs. It clearly doesn’t cost $5 million bucks just to install a police box across nine stations either.

        • Note to readers: The anonymous commenters “Government Waste” and “Frustrated with Metro” are likely the same person and their comments will be treated as such in the future.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

    • Well said. And of course, the economic benefit to building rail (instead of focusing solely on the automobile) is profound. Urban freeways destroy adjacent property values where they would otherwise be at their highest… throwing more money at car capacity in LA is a fiscal black hole.

      Dense, walkable, urban development generates far greater tax revenue and economic productivity per acre — rail lines encourage this kind of smart growth. Better for the planet, better for our wallets too!

  15. The MTA wants more money for projects some of which are not even transit related. But the grid locked traffic corridor running east/west along both Sunset Bl. and Santa Monica Bl. is not addressed in any way. Building an extension to the Crenshaw Light Rail Line cannot address this problem in any way, it’s a north/south line. Our only answer is to oppose any tax increases and extension of current sales tax. When is the MTA going to address situations such as the East/West grid lock? This problem was not created by poor planning but instead by an anti vehicle governor who cancelled a proposed, funded, shovel ready freeway that developers relied on when their projects were being built. So now do we turn to Cal-trans to build the freeway that was proposed 50 years ago? And since the MTA has failed to address the problem there is no reason to pass another worthless tax increase.

    • Beverly Hills Freeway was never going to happen and was certainly never shovel ready. Huge swaths of the city would have had to been destroyed and the lawsuits would have made the 710 through South Pasadena look comparatively easy to this.

      • It most certainly was shovel ready. The houses and land in the neighborhood where I grew up had already been acquired by Cal-Trans. They were already to go when Jerry Brown put a stop to it. And if you travel on the Hollywood Freeway at Vermont you can see where the interchange was supposed to be built.

        Century City was developed with the assurance a freeway was to be built. Beverly Hills may not have wanted it but last I checked the STATE Government supersedes city government.

        Now we have massive gridlock as a result with no plan as to how to alleviate it. The MTA doesn’t care and the State of California doesn’t care.

        But let’s just build more light rail to no where. Perhaps they will have to pass another law that it is illegal to shoot rabbits from the windows on light rail trains. And if you don’t understand that, read L.A. history.

    • “So now do we turn to Cal-trans to build the freeway that was proposed 50 years ago?”

      You’re not being very realistic here. I really doubt LA will be buying out and tearing down all those prime businesses along Santa Monica Blvd. and Sunset Blvd. and the tax revenues they generate just to build a freeway.

      “And since the MTA has failed to address the problem there is no reason to pass another worthless tax increase.”

      Everyone is entitled to vote whichever way they wish; I’m voting no for other reasons. From my POV, bad traffic jams in LA is a non-issue; traffic is bad because everyone drives cars. If more single car drivers downgraded to motorcycles or scooters, the cost of ownership on the long run is much cheaper than going Metro, our roads will still be able to accommodate a lot more drivers without the gridlock that exists today, the roads won’t go bad as quickly, fuel economy is much better so gasoline prices will drop even lower by driving up the supply, and we will be able to free up a lot more of the parking spaces hogged by cars to real estate for development.

      There’s a reason why the scooter and motorcycle is king in many parts of the world. It’s cheap, it’s fast, and efficient.

      • Actually the freeway was supposed to travel just south of Santa Monica Bl. somewhere between Melrose and Beverly Bl. This is apparent if one looks at the proposed interchange between the Hollywood Freeway and the State Route 2 Freeway which is located at Vermont Ave. That’s why there is a large gap between the North and southbound lanes.

        While the MTA condemns property to build their light rail lines to no where there is an old Pacific Electric right of way along Santa Monica Bl. that is almost completely intact. And why build a light rail or subway from the valley to westside when they already have the 405 freeway which the just completed a second major upgrade in ten years?

        Scooters and motorcycles may work in third world countries but it’s all to apparent those in the United States don’t subscribe to their wide use.

        We need light rail and subways along major corridors where people travel not out in the country where shooting rabbits off the moving railcars would have to be addressed as in the pass.

        The constant grid lock along this east/west corridor is not going away. Year by year it has only been getting worse. A freeway was promised and then taken away by Governor “Moonbeam.” The westside was developed with said freeway in mind. Its time to remedy a poor decision either with the promised freeway or a light rail line built on a previously heavily used right of way.

    • Ugh. It’s comments like yours that make me realize this city might never improve before it becomes truly unlivable. LA is rapidly urbanizing and traffic is a nightmare, and your solution is to build another freeway right through the middle of the city? Yeah, that worked out beautifully with the 101, the 110, etc. Do us all a favor and leave 50-year-old bad ideas in the dustbin of history where they belong. If you want to live in the suburbs, move there – we grown-up city dwellers will continue to advocate for rapid transit options that make sense.

    • I implore you to vote for the upcoming tax measure. There are many enhancements Metro is making to Mid-City East/West travel. The purple line will be funded to Santa Monica, allowing people to get from Santa Monica to Union Station via Mid-City in under 25 minutes. In the above plan is also a proposed BRT along Olympic Blvd using dedicated bus lanes. Lastly, Expo Line Phase II is opening in Spring 2016 which will allow people to get from Santa Monica to Downtown in 45 minutes.

      Look at it this way: Without funding, nothing gets built, and traffic only gets worse. With funding, these projects get built with the specific hope of relieving traffic congestion and increasing mobility. On the off-chance Metro don’t stick to the voter-approved plan or grossly misrepresent project costs, lawsuits will be filed and the taxpayers will receive what they approved.

      It’s a shame State Route 2 didn’t become a freeway but that ship has sailed. It’s far too late to even consider that freeway as it would mean destroying entire neighborhoods, and would be cost prohibitive. All we can do is go forward.

      Los Angeles has long been the butt of traffic jokes. We can end that!

      • “Look at it this way: Without funding, nothing gets built, and traffic only gets worse. With funding, these projects get built with the specific hope of relieving traffic congestion and increasing mobility.”

        IMO, Metro can go make their own money instead of being reliant on taxpayers all the time. Why should taxpayers keep paying for this? It’s not my problem they ended up doing the honor system losing billions of dollars since inception, it’s not my problem that they built stations in the middle of the road with narrow platforms that can’t accommodate additional amenities, it’s not my problem they decided to waste land space by giving away free parking. Metro has a lot of things they haven’t tried yet that can be used to make some serious money themselves, but they’re not taking any advantage of it.

        I guess when they’re addicted to free money from taxpayers all the time, they don’t want to work, just like people who are completely dependent on welfare for years without getting a job like the rest of us.

        “On the off-chance Metro don’t stick to the voter-approved plan or grossly misrepresent project costs, lawsuits will be filed and the taxpayers will receive what they approved.”

        You think government cares? If they are subjected to lawsuits, the taxpayers pay for all the legal fees. if any restitution is made, it also comes from taxpayers. Either way, we’re the ones that get screwed.

  16. When I see the year 2057, its hard not to be jaded at Baby Boomers, and how this huge gap was left in transit between the red car being built and the blue line opening. To add insult, both time frames are about 30-40 years. It seems like a generation was completely jacked, and now WE are paying for it. Good to see some progress though.

    • The Baby Boomers will continue to leave their damage for a little while longer on the federal, state, and local levels.

      Just look at the ages of the next Presidential candidates, current roster of Supreme Court justices, Senators and Representatives who represents California in Congress, and the politicians in Sacramento and LA are. They’re all old enough to be our parents, some are even in the age of our grandparents (Gov. Jerry Brown, Sen. Diane Feinstein) and none of them has any rapport to what our generation wants.

      But, we are definitely starting to see the waning of the Baby Boomers’ power with growing number of politicians outside of the Baby Boomers’ age group. Here in Los Angeles, our mayor Eric Garcetti was born in 1971, Los Angeles’ first Korean-American city councilman David Ry was born in 1976.

  17. Hi Steve,

    Referring to Attachment E, item 26: why would a “trench cover” along the LAX corridor be needed? What essential purpose would it serve?