A Quick Look at Metro’s Newly Released Measure R2 Expenditure Plan

Metro's Measure R2 draft expenditure plan pie chart. Image via Metro
Metro’s Measure R2 draft expenditure plan pie chart. Image via Metro

At a press briefing this morning, Metro’s CEO Phil Washington released the agency’s draft expenditure plan for a potential $120 billion November 2016 ballot measure, often referred to as Measure R2.

The expenditure plan is expected to be received and filed by the full Metro board of directors at its monthly meeting next Thursday March 24. Metro will receive input on the plan in the coming months. Final expenditure language is expected to be approved at the June board meeting.

There will likely be jockeying over the next few months to adjust funding percentages and project timelines, but even within the draft there are a few details to be worked out. Metro had initially been planning a 40-year sales tax. The draft plan includes 40-, 45-, and 50-year options. Washington reported that Metro staff are recommending the 50-year sales tax, which would generate a projected additional $11 billion compared to the 40-year plan.

Here are the draft expenditures ranked by allocation amount: 

  • 35 percent – Transit Construction – includes rail, bus rapid transit (BRT), Union Station, some Metrolink projects
  • 20 percent – Transit Operations – includes Metro bus and Municipal bus operations
  • 17 percent – Highway Construction – includes freeways, toll lanes, and some port and goods movement projects
  • 16 percent – Local Return – per capita funding to municipalities for transportation projects
  • 5 percent – Rail Operations
  • 2 percent – ADA Paratransit service for disabled, seniors, students
  • 2 percent – Metro State of Good Repair and Safety Improvements
  • 2 percent – Regional Active Transportation projects
  • 1 percent – Regional Rail – Metrolink projects

The full documents include extensive lists of rail, BRT, and highway projects and how they would be sequenced. SBLA will be taking a deeper dive into this in the future. For now here are a few interesting inclusions and omissions:

  • Metro has not included pedestrian and bicycle funding in past ballot measures; this plan includes 2 percent. This is better than Measure R’s zero, but well below advocates’ demands of ten percent and less than other successful ballot measures in Alameda, S.F., Marin and Santa Barbara counties. Washington asserted that the two percent, plus some cities spending some of their local return monies on walking and bicycling, means that active transportation would get about “4.5 to 5 percent” from the overall pie.
  • Metro’s planned transit project build out includes some bicycle path projects: two sections of the Los Angeles River, and a portion of the Pacoima Wash.
  • The downtown Los Angeles Streetcar would receive funding.
  • While the expenditure plan includes two lower 710 Freeway projects, it does not include the $6 billion upper 710 Freeway tunnels project.
  • Early on, the Metro Orange Line BRT would be improved, adding several grade crossings. In later years it would be converted to rail.
  • There is an extensive plan for the Sepulveda Pass. Initially HOV lanes would be converted to tolled ExpressLanes, then toll revenue would help fund a rail-only tunnel connecting the Valley with the Westside.

SBLA is still making our way through the documents and attachments and Metro’s explainer website. We have already received various press releases responding to the plan. VICA (Valley Industry & Commerce Association) likes it. Investing in Place is disappointed. We will continue our coverage of the plan as its final shape emerges.

What do you think, readers? Would you vote for this as is? What do you like? What would you like to see changed or prioritized differently than today’s draft?

 

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