The Metro Board of Directors held its September meeting on Thursday. The agenda is above. Among the items the Board tackled:
•The Board voted 12 to 1 to approve Metro’s $6-billion budget for the current fiscal year, which runs from this past July 1 through June 30, 2021. L.A. Council Member and Board Member Mike Bonin was the dissenting vote — he was not satisfied with bus and rail service levels budgeted and said he wanted more information about assumptions that went into determining service levels.
The budget proposes that Metro will continue to run our current level of bus and rail service through next June — which is 80 percent of normal service (or 20 percent less than normal service, as many prefer to frame it). A friendly amendment by several Board Members was approved as part of the budget and calls for Metro staff to develop a plan within 60 days to restore more transit service. Here’s the motion:
Many Board Members made it clear they want more service to help people get where they are going and to help reduce crowding and promote more social distancing on buses and trains.
With plastic barriers in place on all buses to protect bus operators, Metro operations staff also said that the agency is in the process of having bus operators remove cordons that some operators have put at the front of buses. That should free up a few seats and more space.
The overriding issue is, not surprisingly, money. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a decline in local sales tax revenues, which are a major part of Metro’s funding stream. Metro officials and Board Members hope sales taxes recover as the local economy improves. They also said more federal funding in the form of a stimulus bill will be needed to help Metro and many other transit agencies across the U.S. that are facing large budget shortfalls due to the pandemic.
•The Board approved the agency’s Moving Beyond Sustainability plan, which is a 10-year blueprint for Metro’s many efforts to reduce its environmental footprint and expand its use of renewable energy while lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Staff report and here’s a presentation. And here is today’s Source post.
•The Board approved Metro’s Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), a 30-year financial blueprint for the agency. The LRTP is, in essence, a summation of the dozens of projects and programs underway at Metro — and is also a statement on the agency’s priorities. In short, that’s to give everyone in L.A. County a wide range of high-quality options when it come to getting around, especially the folks who need us the most. Staff report and news release. Here’s the report below (it says ‘draft’ but it’s the adopted version) and here’s a pdf.
•The Board discussed a receive-and-file a staff report on a community-based approach to law enforcement and public safety. Metro Security Robert Green told the Board that he views this as a “tremendous opportunity to define safety on our system — not law enforcement, but safety.” Applications to serve on a public advisory committee on safety are scheduled to be released in mid-October and the goal is for the committee to have its initial meeting in January.
•The Board discussed a receive-and-file a staff report that reviews use-of-force policies by law enforcement agencies/staff that patrol the Metro system. Here’s a graphic on compliance by law enforcement agencies and here’s a presentation, also posted below. Chief Green, in particular, noted that private security firms contracted by Metro have said they will adopt the latest reform standards for use-of-force.
•The Board heard an oral report on Crenshaw/LAX Line construction progress. Construction staff said the project’s contractor has fallen behind schedule on trying to reach substantial completion of the light rail line by December. Board Members and staff said they will continue to push the contractor to deploy resources needed to finish the work on schedule. Staff also said that when complete, testing and training is expected to take five to six months.
•The Board approved a motion calling for staff to return with more info about fare capping as part of the ongoing fareless proposal under development. Fare capping ensures that a rider’s fare does not pay more than the cost of an applicable pass. Motion