The Eno Center for Transportation, an independent transportation think tank, has released a paper that offers lessons from Measure M, Metro’s 2016 sales tax initiative that was approved by 71.15 percent of Los Angeles County voters.
The paper is part of a multi-year Eno initiative to comprehensively catalog, analyze and assess transportation measures at the ballot box. Authored by UCLA Professor of Urban Planning Michael Manville, the paper draws from a collection of detailed interviews writer Joel Epstein of individuals involved in Measure M. The lessons provide perspective on Measure M’s victory and an understanding of what successful transportation ballot campaigns require.
Manville’s findings include the following:
- Measure M is a classic example of coalition politics. Much of the work surrounding the measure involved building an alliance to support it. This took place long before voters even saw the proposal.
- The fulcrum on which that coalition was built and balanced was the specific set of projects and the order of delivery that Measure M’s tax revenue would fund.
- Coalition politics at every level demand tradeoffs between political feasibility and transportation efficiency.
- Coalitions require strong leaders who can coordinate efforts publicly and privately.
- Ballot campaigns often require advocates to strategically manage its messaging.
Metro previously published a pamphlet titled “How to Pass a Mega Transportation Measure” that is on the agency’s website.