Last week, a mini-furor was passed around by opponents of the 710 Big Dig project. The Pasadena Independent reported that the City of Rosemead is using a portion of the over $500,000 it receives annually in Measure R Local Return funds to pay its membership dues in the 710 Coalition. From the Independent:
According to the staff report, the Coalition is requesting membership dues in the amount of $6,000 a year to be paid through Measure R monies…
…The 710 Coalition’s proposal, submitted for the Rosemead City Council’s consideration, states that funding for participation in the 710 Coalition would be paid through Measure R monies – revenue generated by the sales tax initiative approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.
Measure R established a one-half cent sales tax to be used for public transportation purposes, ending in 2039.
Among the benefits from joining the Coalition, the City of Rosemead will be able to work closely with other members to determine and develop public messaging in support of the I-710 Extension project, according to the staff report.
The idea that Measure R funds are being used to advocate for one of the most controversial and expensive projects in the state doesn’t sit well with many. However, according to Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero, this use of funds is well within Metro funding guidelines.
“The Measure R Local Return Fund Guidelines allow for the planning, coordination, engineering and design costs incurred toward implementing projects for traffic congestion relief,” Sotero writes. “The City of Rosemead made the request to use their Measure R Local Return apportionment for the 710 Coalition and it was approved.”
Sotero also stated that no community other than Rosemead has requested to use their Measure R Local Return dollars for membership dues to the 710 Coalition. Read more…