Millennials Voted For Measure M, Senior Citizens Not So Much
Measure M, which will increase sales tax in Los Angeles County by a half-cent to fund transit projects starting July 1, passed in the county by nearly 70 percent, exceeding the minimum of 66.7 percent. According to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune, a majority of the proposal's yes votes came from millennials and Latino voters.
Eighty-five percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 were in favor of Measure M, while 5 percent were not and 10 percent weren't sure, according to a poll conducted internally by Measure M's campaign, Yes on M, a week before Election Day. Age groups 30 to 49 were also heavily in favor, while most of the voters who were opposed to the measure were older, somewhere between 50 to 70.
Geographically speaking, many supporters were located in L.A., with strong support from Valley folks in North Hollywood, Sherman Oaks, Encino and neighborhoods near Ventura Boulevard, who will benefit from the Orange Line. Unincorporated areas such as Marina Del Rey, Altadena and Hacienda Heights also showed support, according to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder Office. Additionally, the SGV Tribune reports that support was also higher in areas with a large number of Latino voters, such as Cudahy, where 86 percent of voters were in favor of the measure.
Downey, Cerritos and Whittier were less enthused, though still voted over 60 percent in favor. Support was below 60 percent more affluent areas, such as Palos Verdes Estates and Rolling Hills. Bill Carrick, a political consultant who acted as principal strategist for the Yes on M Campaign, noted that areas with higher incomes and areas that voted Republican in the presidential election were generally less inclined to support Measure M. But not all who cast a vote against Measure M were against taxes in general, as many communities who were slow to embrace Measure M did vote for taxes that supported education.
Carrick hypothesized that people voted for what affected them. Younger voters are still dealing with a daily commute, and fewer cars on the road or alternative transportation choices appeal to them. Older voters may be retired and are more likely to own cars, and are perhaps not interested in paying for additional transit they feel like they won't use.
Pauletta Tonilas, LA Metro's chief communications officer, told LAist that, "The plan will help residents of all ages across L.A. County, providing more travel options, improvements to local streets and better programs for seniors, persons with disabilities and students. Right out of the chute, we’ll be moving several projects into the environmental process and expediting those already undergoing environmental work, with the first Measure M projects starting construction within the next couple of years."
For voters who may be impatient, perhaps that whole next couple of years thing turned them off. Tonilas previously told CBS Los Angeles that their first priority is construction at the 96th Street station, which will connect to LAX. That project is one to look forward to, but it doesn't break ground until 2018.
Yonah Freemark, an urbanist who specializes in transit issues, told KPCC that the plans could be hindered further if federal funding doesn't come through. The Republicans, who now control the government, are not keen on the National Highway Trust Fund, as noted in the Republican Platform 2016 which can be read here.
"The ambitions of Measure M, the things that voters were promised, do rely on those federal funds," he said.
If you need a refresher on what transit in L.A. could look like if all goes as planned, here's a cool animation that shows our potentially bright future.