How We Roll, March 21: the spending plan lands and reaction begins

Art of Transit

The California poppies are blooming along the Golden State Freeway in the Tejon Pass thanks to El Nino Lite. Photo by Steve Hymon.

The California poppies are blooming along the Golden State Freeway in the Tejon Pass thanks to El Nino Lite. Photo by Steve Hymon.

Things to listen whilst on transit: A classic Judge John Hodgman episode. Marc wants to dig up the family dog, who passed away two years ago, and re-assemble the dog’s skeleton as a family display. His wife, quite understandably, thinks that’s a monstrous idea. Who’s right? Who’s wrong? Only one man can decide — and I bet you’ll be laughing your hindquarters off on the bus or train.

MTA shows what taxpayers will get if OK a $120-billion sales tax increase (LAT)

A quick look at Metro’s expenditure plan (Streetsblog LA)

MTA rolls out plan to double L.A.’s rail network (LA Weekly)

Reader reaction (Reddit Los Angeles) 

Investing in Place and LACBC joint statement (Investing in Place)

Excerpt from the LAT story that frames the issue well:

These lines would connect the region’s growing transit network to cities that have lacked passenger rail since the demise of the Pacific Electric streetcar network a half-century ago.

The routes also represent a political calculation by transportation planners to spread out new services across the county as they try to persuade voters to approve a sales tax that would fund their construction. The priorities pleased officials in some areas but left others complaining that their regions were overlooked.

To meet the two-thirds voter threshold required for approval — often a high hurdle — Metro’s proposed measure will need strong voter support in virtually every area. The proposal’s geographic balance reflects that, with rail lines and highway projects stretching from the South Bay to the North County and from Westwood to Claremont.

Click any of the links above for some of the more interesting reaction.

There’s also a ton of comments on our post that includes the plan. As we posted Friday, this is a draft spending plan and could change. The Metro Board will have the final say on the plan and whether to ask voters to consider a half-cent sales tax increase and a continuation of Measure R.

Metro has a new proposal for the Gold Line Eastside Extension (SGV Tribune)

There are upcoming community meetings as planning and environmental studies continue on the project that would extend the Gold Line from East Los Angeles to South El Monte or Whittier. On the Whittier segment, Metro is trying to find the best route to Washington Boulevard — looks like it’s either down Atlantic, Arizona or under Garfield.

The spending plan for the potential ballot measure calls for one alternative to be funded in the 2030s with funding for the other one in the 2050s.

High-speed rail officials realign Burbank-Palmdale routes (KPCC)

More underground segments in the northern San Fernando Valley until trains get to less populated areas. Of course, more underground = more expensive. It may not matter for years: state officials are first trying to complete the segment between the San Joaquin Valley and San Francisco.

Traffic on the 405 isn’t that bad, really! (LA Weekly)

Hillel Aron relishes the news -that the 405, perhaps the freeway of the most ill repute, isn’t even close to being the worst stretch of freeway in So Cal, according to new data from Inrix:

And yet some longtime Angelenos (like me) have long held a sneaking suspicion that while traffic on the 405 freeway has maintained its horribleness, traffic on the 10 and 101 freeways have gotten even more horrible. And now we have data to back us up…[snip]

The worst freeway in America is the southbound 101 freeway, between Topanga Canyon and North Vignes Street, aka the jail exit. Commuters unlucky enough to depend on that forsaken 26 miles of roadway burn away 134 hours, or six whole days, of their life every year!

Hillel doesn’t think the 405 has gotten any better. It’s just everything else has gotten worse. Thanks, economy!

After subway shutdown, will drastic action become Washington Metro’s new normal? (Washington Post)

Good story about the decision by the chief of the Washington Metro to shut down service Wednesday for inspections to prevent fire and smoke issues. I thought the lede was buried:

Advocates for Metro have complained that the agency, in paying for daily operations, suffers a unique financial disadvantage among major U.S. transit systems because it lacks a significant, dedicated source of money, such as a portion of a sales or gas tax. But local politicians fear that proposing higher taxes would anger voters. Instead, Metro must seek annual operating subsidies from the District, Maryland and Virginia.

The jurisdictions, which are chipping in $845 million this year, were reluctant to boost their contributions next year, despite Metro’s rising costs. Partly as a result, the agency set its next operating budget at $1.74 billion, down 3 percent from this year. Metro budgets a similar sum for annual capital projects, helped by federal funds.

Those interested in this issue should check out Attachment J of the potential ballot measure spending plan, which would set aside two percent of sales tax revenues (about $2.4 billion) for Metro’s State of Good Repair projects. As the Metro report notes, State of Good Repair here doesn’t have a dedicated source of funding.

From the Department of Demolition: The Expo Line-adjacent Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena — i.e. the Dump that Jumps — saw its last concerts this past week courtesy of Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Here’s an appropriate one from the first night, played again on Saturday night for those who need a little Monday morning jolt.

Programming note: I’m away from the blog this week. How We Roll will resume March 29.





1 reply

  1. I love How We Roll!! Smart, fun and really well written really is “the source” for everything Metro! Keep up the great work! Thanks for keeping me informed and all the hard work that must go into curating these articles.