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How Much Will Measure M Cost You, Exactly?

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Metro rolls through downtown (Photo by Calvin Fleming via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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There's been a great deal of fanfare surrounding Measure M, the ballot measure put forth by Metro to spark off a number of transportation projects (like a westward extension of the Purple Line, and a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass). If passed by a two-thirds majority in November, the measure will raise the sales-tax by a half cent, as well as extending another half-cent sales tax increase—Measure R, which was passed in 2008. Metro expects the measure to generate about $120 billion in tax revenue over forty years.

That's all fine and good. But what does it really mean? Like, how would the tax increase affect our wallets in real terms? According to Metro, it would mean that each person in the L.A. County will be paying an extra $25 per year, reports KPCC.

KPCC spoke with an economist who said that, duh, all you'd have to do to get that figure is total up the "sales tax receipts and [divide] them by the number of households." He said that the math checks out with him.

We'd like to note that $25 is about the same amount you'd pay per month for your cable package (granted you refrained from adding some sort of sports package with 100 extra ESPN channels).

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The tax increase (both the half-cent bump, as well as the prolonging of Measure R) will remain in place indefinitely until voters decide to vote against it. Overall, the increase will boost the county's sales tax rate to 9.25%.

While the amount sounds fairly modest, it perhaps will not be enough to sway some of the opposition. As noted at the L.A. Times, support for the measure has been strong in central L.A. and the Westside areas, but some voters in the South Bay area, where about one-third of likely voters live, are skeptical. These skeptics feel that Metro's proposed plans won't benefit the Southern neighborhoods enough. Voters in Torrance, Signal Hill and Carson believe that there isn't enough money allocated for local projects like street repairs. Others are unhappy that the proposed Green Line extension, which will add 4.7 miles to stretch the line to Torrance, won't break ground for a decade.

The Times also notes that, four years ago, a former Metro ballot measure to expand mass transit had lost by less than one percentage point. However, in a series of polls conducted in May by Metro, 63 to 79% of responders said that they'd vote yes on the measure.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story, citing a report by KPCC, said that the measure would cost $25 per household in the L.A. County. We, as well as KPCC, have have corrected this article to say that it should cost $25 per person.

Related: Animated Map: Here's What Metro Wants To Do If Measure M Passes