Board Chair Villaraigosa Responds to Bike/Ped. Funding Requests

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Villaraigosa Talks to Reporters After Addressing the Move LA Conference in January

At today's Metro Executive Management and Audit Committee Meeting both myself and Joe Linton presented the case for a small set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects in Metro's mammoth $40 billion plan to spend the funds brought in by its proposed sales tax increase.

The Mayor, who is now Chair of the Metro Board, said:

We all recognize that bike path treatments are important to the region.  I can't tell you today that there will be a set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects in the program.  This program is already too cumbersome, but I know that many municipalities will look into using a portion of the Local Return funds for bicycle and pedestrian projects.

In other words, bicycle and pedestrian advocates should feel free to lobby the 85 municipalities in the LA County region for the 20% 15% of the budget that belongs to the locals and leave the Metro Board alone to deal with larger issues.  Nevermind that many of these municipalities don't exactly have the best track record for funding these sorts of things.

Before testimony was taken on the plan, Villaraigosa ended his pro-sales tax monologue by calling for transportation advocates to come together and support this proposal regardless of whether their region receives the funds it should because "100% of $0 is $0."  During testimony I noted that "0% of $40 billion is also 0."  Linton reminded the Metro Board that a similar ballot measure in the East Bay failed without any funds for non-motorized transportation.  After tweaking the measure so that 10% went for non-motorized projects it passed.  Only time will tell if Metro is repeating the mistakes made in the Bay Area by only considering motorized transportation options?

If you feel that Metro should include a small set aside for bicycle and pedestrian projects, you should read this article and then send an email to metroletter@live.com 

Photo: Damien Newton