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Counting Down to Tomorrow’s Metro Board Meeting

3:52 PM PDT on July 23, 2008

Tomorrow is the Metro Board of Directors Meeting where the fate of the proposed sales tax proposal will be discussed and voted on for the final time. Before their ballot measure can be voted upon by the general public, it must also be approved by the state legislature.

There's a lot of things that still have to be decided before tomorrow's vote. I'll try to cover the major issues that are still on the table.

First, even though the most recent proposed expenditure plan has allocated so much money for the Gold Line that local papers are referring to the sales tax as the Gold Line Tax, San Gabriel Valley legislators are still not happy with the final proposal. This morning, the Bottleneck Blog reported that the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments and the Gold Line Phase II Joint Powers Authority don't believe they'll see a completed Gold Line under the current scheme.

Of course, regular readers of this blog know there is a full blown movement to dedicate 1% of the budget for bicycles and another 1% for pedestrians. While some individual Board Members have shown interest in the proposal, there's no telling if it will gain any traction at tomorrow's meeting.

Environmentalists are also concerned about the lack of language mandating that bus service will be expanded under the sales tax plan. The current proposal does spell out that:

3. Operations money would be used for all the items described under Point 4 - Better Public Transportation, especially including:
4-A. Metro Rapid Improvements

4-C. Local Bus Improvements

4-D. Dedicated Bus Lanes

4-H. Fare Equity

However, it doesn't specify that any of those funds would be set aside for bus system expansion. Changing that language could prove a critical point in winning the approval of the Bus Rider's Union.

San Gabriel Valley isn't the only Valley with politicians opposing Metro's plans. Two City Councilmen from the San Fernando Valley spoke at last week's Council Meeting against the plan and could prove an obstacle when it comes to the November ballot.

Last, Board Member Michael Antonovich will propose an amendment that funds from the sales tax be spent proportionally based on population so that smaller municipalities aren't left out.

Because tomorrow is going to be another long, well attended meeting; I recommend getting there early before all the comfortable seats are taken.

Photo: Mastery of Maps/Flickr

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