Metro has not yet decided whether to have a Measure R2 sales tax on the November ballot; that will come next month. The voting public has not yet passed the measure by two-thirds; that would hopefully come in November. But the L.A. City Council is already trying to decide how to spend their chunk of the future funds.
At yesterday’s council Transportation Committee, members considered a pair of motions that would carve up the city’s anticipated $4 billion in “local return” funds:
- Councilmembers Bob Blumenfeld and Paul Koretz’ motion 16-0187 would divide up local return “by region and Council District” in order to “ensure that the San Fernando Valley and all regions receive their fair share.”
- Councilemembers Joe Buscaino, Mitch Englander, Herb Wesson and Mike Bonin’s motion 16-0395 would set aside a “minimum allocation of two-thirds of the City’s share of potential Local Return funding for a capital improvement program for street reconstruction and rehabilitation.” To a large extent this echoes Buscaino and Englander’s 2012-2013 efforts toward a road bond.
As in the overall Metro expenditure plan, there is a delicate balance to be struck on these sorts of advance allocations. If the funding direction is too vague, or if it is too specific, voters may find reasons to not support Measure R2.
There are competing ways to divide the money, and as Transportation Committee Chair Bonin stated, “equality is not equity.” Valley interests urged equality: ensuring all regions get an equal allocation. South L.A. speakers urged equity: ensuring that investment remedies historic deficiencies for underserved communities.
Livability advocates, including Investing in Place, were critical of the Buscaino-Englander motion as currently written. If the city spends the majority of its funding to merely repave streets and restore them as is, it would be a missed opportunity to implement Mobility Plan 2035, Vision Zero, and/or green infrastructure improvements. In addition, that motion currently ignores sidewalks, whether repairing or adding new sidewalks where they are missing.
This delicate balance was not resolved yesterday. Bonin instead proposed, and the committee affirmed, a series of requests that city departments report back to the Transportation Committee for further discussion.
Bonin’s direction to staff follows after the jump. Read more…