The Metro Board of Directors meet at 9:30 a.m. for their regular monthly meeting at Metro HQ, adjacent to Union Station. As always, the meetings — held in the third floor Board Room — are open to the public and will be livestreamed.
Among the items the Board are scheduled to tackle:
•The big ticket item will be a staff report on development of a funding plan for the “Reimagining L.A. County” plan formerly known as the “Twenty-Eight by ’28 Plan,” the Board-approved policy to build 28 major projects in time for the Olympics and Paralympics in our region in 2028. In plain English, this is the item that involves congestion pricing.
Long story short: 20 of the projects are due to be done by 2028 and about $26 billion would be needed to finish the other eight by then.
At this time, staff are asking the Board this month to approve a list of projects considered “sacred cows.” In other words, projects whose funding can’t be used for the “Reimagining Plan.” Staff also want the Board to authorize Metro to pursue a White House Task Force on the Olympics that could potentially shake loose some federal funding.
Staff are also going to show the Board a list of potential sources of new revenue. Among those: fees on Uber Lyft rides, fees on ‘New Mobility’ devices (such as electric scooters) and congestion pricing. The idea would be to launch a study of congestion pricing and then test it somewhere. I’m wild guessing that we’ll likely hear some reaction to the Board — unless all 13 Board Members contract laryngitis simultaneously during the meeting.
An actual funding plan for the “Reimagining L.A. County” plan is scheduled to come back to the Board in February. Staff report with attachments
•On the subject of congestion reduction through performance-based pricing, the Board has two items to consider involving the ExpressLanes.
The first item would authorize staff to develop a plan for dealing with recent congestion and reliability challenges in the I-10 ExpressLanes by raising the toll-free occupancy requirement to five persons or more.
The change is expected to improve transit on-time performance, increase ExpressLanes peak period throughput by 600 persons each weekday, and ensure that the ExpressLanes remain a fast alternative to the general purpose freeway lanes to the drivers when they need it most.
Preliminary analyses indicate a net benefit of $3.7 million per day to the users of the corridor in the form of delay savings, though this includes an average increase to travel times in the general purpose lanes of approximately four minutes. Staff is exploring strategies for mitigating any potential negative impacts of this policy on corridor users, including low income commuters.
Staff would also return to the Board upon completion of the implementation plan, at which time the Board can review the plan and decide how to proceed. Staff report
The second item would authorize staff to implement a “pay as you use” payment option that allows motorists to use the ExpressLanes without a FasTrak transponder. For those without transponders, cameras would photograph the vehicle’s license plate and the registered owner would receive an invoice in the mail for the toll cost plus a $4 surcharge to cover the added processing cost.
As with other comparable toll payment options offered by other agencies across the nation, including the Golden Gate Bridge in the Bay Area, customers using this “pay as you use” method would not be eligible for carpool discounts or clean air vehicle discounts. Staff report
•The Board will consider whether to director Metro’s CEO to finalize negotiations with the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority to help get the first segment of the project to Pomona instead of La Verne.
Long story short: the total cost of building the project from its current terminus in Azusa to Montclair is an estimated $2.1 billion. Due to rising construction costs, the Authority is short $570 million, thus the decision to build the project in segments, with the first ending in La Verne.
The Metro Board, however, wants to see the first segment get to Pomona, where riders could transfer between the Gold Line and Metrolink. That would cost about $230 million. Metro staff have identified ways to fund it, including value engineering (looking for ways to trim the project, in plain English) and using local monies from Measure M.
This is a step to keep the process moving forward. Staff report.
•Here’s a sort of interesting report from Caltrans on movable barriers that could be used for directional lanes — i.e. adding a lane or two at peak hours. It’s just informational — nothing is on the table at this time.