Get Involved with Half Cent Sales Tax Project List

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If you want to see more projects such as the Downtown Connector, Tell Metro

It seems more and more likely that a half cent sales tax measure is going to appear on this fall’s presidential election ballot. This measure would increase the sales tax throughout LA County by a half cent per dollar spent with the funds dedicated towards transportation. To get the measure on the ballot, Metro needs to have a list of projects that would be funded by the measure.

What projects appear on that list will be determined by the MTA Board based on staff recommendations at Metro’s June Board meeting. At last week’s LANI Community Forum hosted by USC, LADOT Bike Coordinator Michelle Mowery and Metro Bike Program Coordinator Lynne Goldsmith were clear on how to influence the project selection criteria.

"Go to the source of the funding," explained Mowery, "Tell people at every level that you want livable, walkable communities."

In the case of getting the best projects on the list of projects to be funded by the half cent sales tax program, the amount of road projects in SCAG’s Long Term Plan, Metro’s Draft Long Term Plan, and the recent report on cross county connections between OCTA and Metro show that even in an era of record gas prices, expanding highways for more automobiles remains a top priority.

To counter that, Metro Riders and Midnight Ridazz should take to the phones. Do you want to see both the Santa Monica and Wilshire spurs of the Subway to the Sea funded? Give a call to a Metro Board member, and to your City Council Member. Want to create a funding pool for the LACBC’s vision of Sharrows on more Los Angeles streets? Don’t just give a call to your local DOT representative but also to your councilmember and the Mayor’s Office.

The half cent increase to the sales tax is just one of several ways to refuel our transportation funds, but without the right project list it won’t bring the kind of changes that we need for Los Angeles to travel into the future.

Image: Metro

  • should read: Metro Bike Program Coordinator – Lynne Goldsmith

  • Damien Newton

    You mean Michelle doesn’t do both jobs?

    Thanks, David

  • well… as much as michelle would love to have the extra responsibility and the extra crap to shovel, i think she’s content with where she’s at right now.

  • Sales tax sounds regressive for the utilization of mass transit. let’s get bolder.

  • These a**holes alrady get 1 cent of every sales tax dollar spent in L.A. County!

    Not enough money? Then stop building expensive capital improvements that do not bring economic benefits to the County!

    For example (this is one of my favorites): the $100 million grade separation on Valley Blvd. in Jose Huizar’s council district. That is MTA Call For Project money that could have paid for almost all of the bicycle projects outlined in the City’s 1996 Bike Plan in one shot.

    That would have been a long term benefit to the people of L.A. and it would come with the hefty maintenance and upkeep that a grade seperation places on a local government in 25, 50, or 100 years.

    Auto subsidies are the wrong place to spend our transit dollars.

    On a similar rant-worthy note: the City of L.A. would do well to eliminate it’s LADOT traffic cop command structure and either integrate that force into General Services of LAPD’s force. That would save transportation money for transportation purposes – whereas these traffic cops are more like law enforcement, and only focus on automobile throughput.

  • Simon

    Looking around California and Los Angeles, we’re woefully underfunding infrastructure (both rail and highway) and there isn’t just money to be found lying around. The entire state is in debt.

    A little while ago I looked up what the cost in 1950 dollars of the Interstate Highway Act was and what it would cost today, and the number was staggering. The 1950 dollar number was something like 28 billion which in today’s dollars adjusted for inflation is something like 214 billion dollars. How did they spend such a huge sum when we barely spend a third of that total today to manage our entire transportation system including rail and other stuff? Pretty simple, the highest tax rate was 91%.

    Obviously no one’s advocating we return to a punitive tax system like that, but there’s an obvious link between the fact that we pay much less in taxes than the greatest generation but can’t maintain the basic infrastructure they built for us, let alone expand it properly.

    I think an even bigger problem is that people always think they only need to spend money on infrastructure once. During the meetings about the subway all those years ago, plenty of people were whining about how annoying it was to have things always under construction, ignoring that just to keep our state highways running, we need to keep them under practically continuous reconstruction.

    I’m very skeptical about this sales tax passing, but our state is so jury-rigged against proper funding mechanisms that it may be the city’s only hope. I fear that the city is at a crossroads: Pass this tax and build a real infrastructure system, or fail and watch as the city decays and crumbles under the pressure of population growth.

  • The “money iz short” argument is NOT TRUE.

    Highway construction will not lead to any further savings in the future – only more expense, with less people being moved.

    Transportation is not all about supply – it is about demand. We’ve built a massive demand for auto-only roads that we cannot possibly afford. Therefore, it is time to scale back on the inducing demand for auto-only roads, and switch to other methods of moving goods and people that are less capital intensive.

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