The Measure M Independent Taxpayer Oversight Committee (the MMITOC) in October unanimously voted to accept their findings and recommendations of the five-year assessment and equity report of our Measure M sales tax program.
The Metro Board of Directors last week voted to adopt the assessment and to receive-and-file the MMITOC’s findings and recommendations.
The MMITOC is a panel of citizens whose mission is to ensure sales tax revenues are spent as intended. The assessment — by Metro staff and consultants — reviewed the projects and programs funded by Measure M, evaluated the program for its effectiveness and made a series of recommendations as we continue to implement Measure M.
Some quick background: Measure M is a half-cent sales tax ballot measure that was approved by 71.15% of L.A. County voters in November 2016 to help fund a long list of transit projects and mobility programs and improvements. The sales tax was established to provide a consistent revenue stream for mobility upgrades in Los Angeles County for decades to come.
The Measure M ordinance approved by voters put a premium on transparency. The assessment’s purpose is to ensure Measure M is working as intended — and to evaluate the performance of the overall program including opportunities for improvements going forward.
Several Measure M projects are under construction and many others are deep into the planning phase. Among those now being built:
- Our new LAX/Metro Transit Center Station will serve the C and K Lines and local buses. It will also be the transfer point to the LAX Automated People Mover serving the airport terminals.
- Section 3 of our Purple (D Line) Extension between Century City to Westwood, which was accelerated with Measure M funds. (The first two sections are also under construction between Wilshire/Western Station and Century City.)
- The I-5 North Capacity Enhancements Project is building carpool lanes and truck lanes on 14 miles of I-5 through the Santa Clarita Valley to improve the flow of traffic and freight in this extremely busy corridor.
- An extension of our A Line from Azusa to Pomona with stations in Glendora, San Dimas and La Verne.
- The East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Project is expected to begin construction in 2024 and will create a new north-south rail connection between Van Nuys and the city of San Fernando.
- The SR-57/SR-60 Interchange Improvements Project is building new on- and off-ramps and other freeway and surface street upgrades to ease chronic traffic congestion at this key junction in the City of Industry and Diamond Bar.
We also have many other transit, highway and pedestrian/bicycle projects in the planning phase across Los Angeles County. The new report summarizes the work we’ve done on those projects, as well as some of the challenges we’ve faced. Please see page 36 for more information.
In terms of how Measure M is performing, here are some highlights from the report:
- In its first five years, Measure M generated 95% of forecasted sales tax revenue — which came to almost $4.5 billion.
- Over $750 million has been sent to the 88 local cities and the unincorporated parts of L.A. County for local transportation improvements.
- Using Measure M dollars, Metro has leveraged more than $3 billion in state and federal grants for our transit projects and programs.
- Measure M investments are being made near low-wage jobs and low-income households at rates slightly higher than for other income groups. This is important as Metro has put a renewed focus on ensuring our projects, programs and services are delivered as equitably as possible.
- An estimated 15,428 jobs have been created thus far by Measure M construction projects.
- Measure M also helped provide a steady source of revenue for Metro and local transit agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic — a period of uncertainty for many transit agencies.
The report identified ongoing challenges to delivering Measure M improvements. These include:
- Staffing challenges that were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, we worked to find ways to hire bus operators more quickly — and that work allowed us to restore bus service to pre-pandemic levels in late 2022. As the report notes, rebuilding our staff is critical to delivering Measure M.
- Rising construction costs, as well as an ongoing shortage of construction workers across the U.S.
On this front, our new Early Intervention Team (EIT) is trying to identify hurdles early and we’re advancing new, more collaborative project delivery methods to improve cost effectiveness and efficiency of projects in the pipeline.
We think these strategies going forward will help reduce project risks, costs and delays — and these strategies will be critical to monitor in advance of future Measure M assessments.
The next assessment will take place in 2028 and will look at the first decade of Measure M. In accordance with the Measure M ordinance, the Metro Board of Directors at that time can also choose to make adjustments to the Measure M expenditure plan.
The five-year assessment is a robust report — with tons of text and graphics on Measure M, as well as our current work to improve equity and provide better mobility right now.
If you have a few minutes, we highly encourage you to give it a read.
Categories: Transportation News