Move LA Huddles with Business, Enviro, Transportation Leader at Annual Conference This Friday

Despite all the progress being made on transit, bicycle, and pedestrian projects in Los Angeles, the long-term transportation funding picture remains uncertain. Measure J was narrowly defeated in the ballot box.  The courts have backed Jerry Brown’s dissolution of Community Redevelopment Agencies. The state also continues to default on its obligation to help defray the cost of transit operations.

In the face of this uncertain future, Move LA holds its 5th Annual Transportation Conference at Union Station this Friday. The conference starts bright and early, but wraps at 3:30 p.m. so that attendees can mingle at a reception honoring outgoing City Council Transportation Committee Chair Bill Rosendahl. The afternoon portion of the conference is free or, if you arrive by bicycle and register ahead of time, the entire conference is free. Given the $75 general admission fee, it’s too bad Bike Nation isn’t up and running just yet. Registration information can be found here. A full schedule for the day can be found at the bottom of this story.

So what can be done to brighten the long term funding prospects for desirable transportation? State Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, the author of SB 375, the ground breaking legislation that requires transportation plans to show projected reductions in Greenhouse Gas thinks he has an answer.

Poster from Move LA's first conference on January 10, 2008

Steinberg introduces SB1, currently in “placeholder” form based on legislation introduced last year. The goal of the legislation is to make it easier for cities and municipalities to invest in regions near transit nodes and other stops.

While Steinberg may be the heaviest hitter, the conference is full of presenters with political juice. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky will be presenting on “The Big Lessons from L.A.’s Transit Revolution,” Metro Board Members Mel Wilson and Richard Katz will take part in panel discussions as will Assembly Member Bob Blumenfeld. There’s a rumor that the four major candidates for mayor will be dropping by, but that is unconfirmed at this point.

Of course, there is also a slew of union, environmental, and activist leaders taking part in various ways. Everyone from the NRDC to the Business Council to the Federation of Labor will be represented. The size and diversity of Move LA’s coalition has always been a hallmark that transit expansion need not be a partisan issue.

With all these different groups, it’s no surprise that Move LA is considering a variety of funding pots as sources of funding for our transportation future. Fees collected by the state’s “Cap and Trade” program, an increase in vehicle license fees, and public private partnerships are all on the table, and will all be discussed Friday.

And that says nothing of the Holy Grail of transportation funding, a measure that would reduce the threshold to pass a transportation funding tax. Locally, everyone is familiar with the overwhelming support, 66.1% for the failed Measure J in November. But in the Bay Area, a transit tax failed with 66.5% of the vote. Lowering the threshold to 50% such as what was needed for Proposition 32 to pass, or even 60% would see a potential rush of funding for transit and transportation.

Anyone who can’t make the conference can watch it live on Time-Warner Channel 35.

Conference Agenda:

Registration (8:00 am)

Welcome (8:30 am)

Marlene Grossman, Move LA Leadership Board Chair

Denny Zane, Executive Director, Move LA

Morning Keynote (8:45 am)

Robbie Hunter, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California

Lessons from LA’s Transit Revolution for Sacramento

Morning Topics

Post Measure J:  Big Picture Politics of Money for Transportation (9:10 am)

Denny Zane, Move LA — Moderator

What’s the next step to accelerating Measure R?

  • How real are the federal opportunities: America Fast Forward Bonds? National Infrastructure Development Bank?
  • With the State in the black, are there new opportunities: 55% voter threshold? Vehicle License Fee surcharge? Cap & trade funds?
  • What about CA High Speed Rail?

Assemblymember Bob Blumenfield, Los Angeles

Maria Elena Durazo, Secretary-Treasurer, LA County Federation of Labor

Richard Katz, Metrolink Board Chair, LA Metro Board

Art Leahy, CEO, LA Metro

Mary Leslie, President, LA Business Council

Adriano Martinez, Staff Attorney, Natural Resources Defense Council

Ron Miller, Executive Secretary, LA & Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council

Tracy Rafter, CEO, LA County Business Federation

Gary Toebben, CEO, LA Area Chamber of Commerce

Making the Transit Revolution Real and Fair (10:20 am)

Beth Steckler, Move LA — Moderator

  • What are the tools we need to make the transit revolution real and fair in LA County and how do we get them?
  • What are the strategies to increase housing opportunities for core transit users, to facilitate walking and cycling, and to pay for bus and rail operations?

Rye Baerg, SoCal Policy Manager, Safe Routes to School National Partnership

Autumn Bernstein, Executive Director, ClimatePlan

Raffi Hamparian, Director of Federal Affairs, LA Metro

Madeline Janis, National Policy Director, LA Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE)

Joan Ling, Real Estate Advisor and Urban Planning Policy Analyst

Hilary Norton, FAST (Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic)

Kevin Ratner, Forest City

Tunua Thrash, West Angeles Community Development Corporation

Michael Turner, State Affairs, LA Metro

Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky (11:30 am)

Keynote: Big Lessons from LA’s Transit Revolution

Lunch (noon)

Invocation: Rabbi Mark Diamond, American Jewish Committee

Senate Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (12:30 pm)

Keynote: Sacramento’s Contribution to LA’s Transit Revolution

Dr. Robert Cervero, UC Berkeley Professor of City and Regional Planning (1:00 pm)

Lessons for LA from Successful Cities around the World & LA’s Potential

Afternoon Topics

Gloria Ohland and Denny Zane, Move LA – Moderators

William Roschen, President, LA Planning Commission (1:30 pm)

The “DNA” of Transit Corridors 

Priorities for Mayor’s Transit Corridors Cabinet

Michael LoGrande, Director LA City Planning Department

Mercedes Marquez, General Manager, LA Housing Department and Deputy Mayor for Housing

Jaime de la Vega, General Manager, LA Department of Transportation

Valerie Lynne Shaw, LA Board of Public Works Commissioner

Mel Wilson, Co-chair of Mayor’s Transit Corridors Cabinet, LA Metro Board

Cal Hollis, LA Metro Countywide Planning Department

Respondents:           

Cecilia Estolano, ELP Advisors

Paul Habibi, Habibi Properties/UCLA Anderson School of Management

Dr. Manuel Pastor, Program for Environmental & Regional Equity (PERE), USC

Amanda Eaken, NRDC

Thomas Yee, Little Tokyo Services Center

Comments from Audience 

Adjourn to Reception in Honor of LA City Councilman Bill Rosendahl.  (3:30 pm)

Fred Harvey Room.