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Posts from the "30/10" Category

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Summary of the Major Decisions from Today’s Metro Board Meeting

If Downtowners want to see a Regional Connector Station at 5th and Flower, they're going to have to find the money themselves.  Photo:##http://www.pbase.com/clovis86/profile##Clovis Bouhier/PBase##

If Downtowners want to see a Regional Connector Station at 5th and Flower, they're going to have to find the money themselves. Photo:Clovis Bouhier/PBase

Here’s a quick rundown of the major votes by today’s Metro Board. Each of these five motions were discussed at Streetsblog over the last couple of weeks, and links to those stories can be found at the end of each summary.  Streetsblog will have links to all news reports on today’s meeting tomorrow.

Westside Subway Locally Preferred Alternative/Environmental Studies
As expected, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve the Westside Subway “Locally Preferred Alternative” as the 9 1/2-mile route to the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Brentwood from the current end of the Purple Line at Wilshire/Western in Koreatown.  Despite over an hour of public comment from the Beverly Hills’ NUMBY’s, there was no decision made on whether the subway should have a stop on Santa Monica Boulevard in Century City or Constellation Avenue.

Yaroslavsky’s motion, which seemed to place the concerns of Beverly Hills regarding the Constellation Avenue/Santa Monica Boulevard debate ahead of those of other communities, was amended by the author to urge the staff to provide a detailed account of the impacts of both alternatives through the Westside.  This would have happened regardless under the Final Environmental Impact Statement that the Board approved funding for today.  For background on this motion, read yesterday’s Streetsblog story or an update on today’s vote from LA_Now.

Regional Connector Locally Preferred Alternative/Environmental Studies
The Metro Board also approved the “Locally Preferred Alternative” and funding for the environmental studies needed for the Regional Connector.  The debate was dominated by Little Tokyo business groups concerned that “cut and cover” subway construction would disrupt the community and cost them business. Downtown interests and LA City Councilwoman Jan Perry also expressed concerns about the exclusion of the 5th and Flower stop from the LPA.  The Board narrowly voted to exclude the 5th and Flower for now, but left the door open to include it in the environmental studies, if local businesses raise the roughly $2 million needed for that part of the study.  For more background, read this story at Streetsblog or an update on today’s vote from Blog Downtown.

“BikeWood” Hub at Hollywood and Vine Read more…

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LA Congressional Delegation and US DOT Voice Strong Support for 30/10 at Crenshaw Press Event

Senator Boxer offers strong support for a federal transportation bill that supports 30/10.

Senator Boxer offers strong support for a transportation bill that supports 30/10.

On an atypically dreary day for October, Los Angeles County’s elected representatives from every level of government gathered with community members at Leimert Park to celebrate the receipt of a $546 million loan for the Crenshaw Light Rail project.

The news had already broken on Friday. So above all, this was an opportunity for elected officials to congratulate each other, Metro, and civic leaders for securing the low interest TIFIA loan from the US Department of Transportation.

Several speakers, especially LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, highlighted the economic and environmental benefits that this project will bring to the South Los Angeles.

But for those following the Mayor’s 30/10 plan closely, the biggest news of the day came embedded amidst the promise of thousands of good paying union jobs and the (somewhat dubious) hope for traffic reduction.

Rather, the key points came from three figures at the federal level, whose work will help determine if the Crenshaw LRT loan is a one-off deal or a veritable down payment on a grander 30/10 scheme. Read more…

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Move LA Fundraiser Attracts 30/10 Movers, Asks “What’s Shakin?”

Denny Zane works the crowd while L.A. City Council Man Paul Koretz rocks a Hawaiian Shirt.  Photo: Carter Rubin

Denny Zane works the crowd while L.A. City Council Man Paul Koretz rocks a Hawaiian Shirt. Photo: Carter Rubin

On Sunday morning, transit reform champions Move LA hosted a garden party to raise money for its campaign to support Mayor Villaraigosa’s 30/10 plan and to enlist Los Angeles’ stalwart political activists in its efforts.  Held in the often traffic-swarmed West LA neighborhood of Brentwood, the event was organized by Streetsblog friend and Huffington Post transportation writer Joel Epstein.

Brought on board by Denny Zane this summer, Epstein is helping Move LA broaden nationally its coalition of labor, business, and environmental groups.  Expanding its clout beyond Southern California would help Move LA convince Washington to support the kinds of infrastructure financing reform – i.e. a national infrastructure bank – that could make 30/10 feasible, as well as benefit other localities hoping to take on similar projects.

The event featured an array of local leaders who came to pledge their support, including: US Rep. Jane Harman (D – Venice), CA State Assemblymember Mike Feuer (42nd Dist.), Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel, LA City Councilmember Paul Koretz, Inglewood Mayor Danny Tabor, and Santa Monica City Councilmember Terry O’Day. Read more…

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Bus Rider’s Union Launches Attack on 30/10 in Effort to Fight Fare Hikes

Screen_shot_2010_08_26_at_2.11.18_PM.pngGabriel Stratchota of Los Angeles, from the Bus Riders Union, is arrested by the Los Angeles County Sheriff when protesting the upcoming fare increases at the MTA Board Room in Downtown Los Angeles, Thursday, May 27, 2010. Photo: Photoimageswest/Flickr
For months, the Bus Rider's Union and their allies have held their powder when it comes to the 30/10 proposal which would accelerate 12 transit projects funded in the Measure R transit tax so that they would be built in the next decade instead of the next thirty years.  However, now the BRU and their ally Transit Riders for Public Transit (TRPT) are airing their concerns over the transit proposal.  Their chief concerns, that by accelerating these rail projects that Metro would be forced to raise fares even more quickly than currently planned in the Long Range Transportation Plan and that by spending Measure R funds quickly they will lose the ability to use those funds towards bus expansion.

Let's put aside the issue of repurposing Measure R funds, because it would require an enormous political lift that is unlikely to happen and focus on the discussion of whether 30/10, and Measure R itself, are a bad deal for bus riders and the transit dependent.

In a letter addressed to Congress Woman Grace Napolitano posted on its website, the BRU and TRPT urge Congress to reject the 30/10 proposal for several reasons, including that 30/10 will increase Metro's operating deficit.

The BRU and TRPT write:

30/10 will gut the bus system, the backbone of public transit in LA: With 80% of MTA's total boardings, the bus system is the backbone of the transit system. Yet 30/10 promises no concrete improvements to bus riders. This year, MTA has already implemented the second 20% fare increase in three years and plans to eliminate 388,000 hours of bus service -- amounting to an attack on bus riders whose average annual household income is $12,000. MTA's 2009 Long Range Transportation Plan calls for continued bus service cuts and 14 fare increases over the next 30 years, supposedly necessitated by ongoing deficits in the their bus operations budget.

Transit Coalition Chair Ken Alpern responded to Napolitano and other members of the Southern California Congressional delegation with a letter of his own.  The Transit Coalition argues that the operating subsidy for rail riders is actually lower than the subsidy for bus riders in Metro's system.  By focusing on operations instead of "total subsidy" which includes construction cost as the BRU does, the Transit Coalition paints a different picture of the yearly costs of operating Metro's transit system.  And The Transit Coalition responds:

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Move L.A.: Go on Record with Your Support for 30/10

Screen_shot_2010_07_13_at_8.42.29_PM.png

Move L.A., the first organization to push for a sales tax to fund transit in 2008 and the group that invented the 30/10 plan, is now asking for your help to get that plan through Congress.  The petition, which you can sign on behalf of yourself or on behalf of an organization, isn't just a lobbying tool; it's perhaps the best summary of the benefits of leveraging the half cent sales tax revenues to build all twelve Measure R transit projects in the next ten years.

Denny Zane, Move L.A.'s founder and executive director, has preached that a big tent would be needed to get the sales tax passed and to get 30/10 through Congress and the White House.  Thus, it's no surprise that this petition lists everything from environmental reasons to job creation as reasons to pass 30/10.  And for good government advocates, it also points out that by paying for projects now, instead of decades from now, L.A. County voters would save $4 billion in the long run.

In other 30/10 news, L.A. Observed writer Bill Boyarsky, who once covered the transportation beat for the L.A. Times, recently penned a column in praise of Measure R:

 

With city hall news full of minor malfeasance, it is surprising to report that something positive is actually happening. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s 30/10 transit plan is moving toward Congressional approval even though progress is about as slow as a Wilshire bus during rush hour.

Locally, it seems just about everyone is in favor of 30/10.  Move L.A. is just giving people an easy way to show it.

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In California’s 36th District, Transportation Emerges as a Major Issue

5_18_10_harman.jpgHarman meets labor.
"I'm on the team!...I'm right here on the Love Train with sisters and brothers in organized labor, the environmental movement and the business community to make this happen right now!" exclaimed incumbent Congresswoman Jane Harman at a rally yesterday for the 30/10 initiative at the Green Line Station near LAX.  (Watch her full speech, Streetscasted here.)  The 30/10 initiative would use federal loans and grants to leverage the half cent sales tax passed by L.A. County voters for transit projects to complete a thirty year program in 10.

5_18_10_wino.jpgWinograd at the Bikerowave. Photo: Bikeside
"I endorse the Cyclists' Bill of Rights.  The first tenet is that cyclists should be able to travel safely and free of fear.  We need voices in Washington that are committed to this vision.  And I am committed to this vision."  Challenger Marcy Winograd asserted at the Bikerowave on Venice Boulevard on April 7, just before being endorsed by Bikeside. (Watch her full statement, from Scoop L.A.'s You Tube page.)  The Cyclists' Bill of Rights is an expression of the twelve right that all cyclists deserve that was put together by the Bike Writers Collective.

In a way, the two statements and venues are symbolic of the campaigns and candidates vying for the Democratic nomination for Congress in the 36th Congressional District which includes much of the Westside and South Bay.  The well-heeled Harman, one of the richest members of Congress, is supported by much of the establishment, including the organized labor groups that surrounded her yesterday as well as most politicians and even the Sierra Club's Political Action Committee.  Winograd is running to Harman's left, with support from smaller, but community based organizations such as Bikeside, and the Progressive Democrats for America; and seems to be at home surrounded by riders and people at work.

But the two candidates' positions also reflect a new political reality for candidates in Southern California.  Los Angeles now has an organized community dedicated to green transportation or Livable Streets causes.  It's now smart politics to embrace transit and bike riding in the "Car Capital of America."  Both Harman and Winograd are embracing two key programs in the Livable Streets platform in Los Angeles: accelerating transit expansion and securing cyclist rights.

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A Clean, Green, Vertical Los Angeles – The 30/10 Love Train

4_30_10_map2.jpgThese were the place mats awaiting guests at yesterday's conference.  Nice work Transit Coalition - DN

(Since leaving the LA Weekly, where she did everything from review bands to serve as transportation writer, Gloria Ohland has been heavily involved in the transit reform scene.  Most recently she worked with the T.O.D. advocacy group Reconnecting America.  You'll be seeing more of her writing here in the very near future...DN)

Let’s be clear: The “30-10” transit plan to build nine new rail and three new bus rapid transit lines over a decade is a really big deal. That infusion of investment ($18 billion for transit capital out of a total $30 billion for capital and operations) and jobs (166,000) could jolt LA County at least part-way out of the recession. But even more importantly, the coalition that has come together in support of 30-10 – business, labor, enviros, elected officials, Metro board members – is also a big deal. Some say it’s the first time the L.A. County Congressional delegation has ever united in support of something.

And if the Move LA coalition can mobilize this “30-10” transportation and economic development game-changer what’s to stop the coalition from going even further?

I refer you to this map that was passed out at Denny Zane’s Move LA confab on Thursday at the downtown Cathedral, which was attended by some 300 people including everyone from Mayor Villaraigosa to California Assembly Transportation Committee Chair Bonnie Lowenthal. Not all the new lines on this map are funded by Measure R. But those that aren’t are either under construction or under serious consideration. Add to that the bike lanes and pedestrian infrastructure that could be funded by the $6 billion of Measure R funding that’s allocated for Local Return to cities. This represents a massive investment in non-auto infrastructure. Suddenly LA looks a lot like a transit metropolis.

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