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Tomorrow’s Metro Board: Finally a Discussion of the LRTP

3_25_09_red_line.jpgPhoto:Thayer School/flickr

It's been over a year since Metro launched it's Imagine Campaign, encouraging County residents to imagine the ideal transportation system and letting Metro know by commenting on their Long Range Transportation Plan.  The Long Range Transportation Plan is a document outlining Metro's vision and projects for the next 30 years and is needed to apply for certain federal and state funds.

After the staff compiled the comments and finished the draft LRTP, it was sent to the Metro Board; where politics trumps policy.  And the plan languished.  Nine months later, the Metro Board still hasn't passed the plan, but tomorrow they are finally addressing this need by merging the LRTP with the plan created when the county passed Measure R last November.

Before Metro could propose a sales tax increase dedicated to transit, the agency had to create a specific timeline to construct specific projects that the taxpayers were voting on when they voted on Measure R.  This way there could be no surprises, and is one reason that Metro is studying bus expansion when other transit agencies are scaling back bus service in part because of the legislature's decision to abandon its commitment to subsudize transit operations.

While this may seem like a minor move, Metro is required by law to do this, it's the first time the Board has brought up the Long Range Transportation Plan in months other than to make excuses for delaying its passage.  The reality is that the Board wants to have a full idea of what their budget looks like with new federal money and reduced state subsidy; but I'm wondering if there isn't a problem in delaying and delaying passage of the plan, what was the rush to have everyone "Imagining" a year ago.  A lot has happened since then, and it might behoove Metro to do a new round of outreach.

Also, the bike parking proposal that was discussed here last week is moving forward to a full vote of the Metro Board.  When enacted, the proposal would add almost 400 lockers and bike racks to metro stations throughout the rail and rapid bus system.  This item appears on the consent agenda so it's extemely unlikely that it won't get passed, but any cyclists that are free tomorrow morning may want to swing by Metro HQ to show them we support a multi-modal connection between bikes and transit.

To read the rest of tomorrow's agenda, click here.

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