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Ready for a Public Transit? Measure R Barely Passes

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Measure R, the ballot initiative that sought to raise LA County's sales tax a half percent on the dollar barely won by a 1% margin--it needed a two-thirds vote. Even though about 3.5 million county residents voted, over a million of those voters opted to not vote for the measure that is expected to bring in $40 billion in transportation funding over the next 30 years.

But don't think transportation projects will begin tomorrow warns LA Times transit writer Steve Hymon. "Transportation officials say the first of a long list of projects are still several years from opening," he reported. "Early work is likely to include an extension of the Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica, an extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa and placement of a busway or light-rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard in South Los Angeles, planners say." The Subway to the Sea is also slated in the plans, but things can change as the Metro Board has the power to change what gets built when. However that is doubtful with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on the board as it was one of his goals and is expected to have high ridership.

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To pass, the measure needed two-thirds to win--it barely passed with 67.41% of the vote. "It was unprecedented to get two-thirds of the vote in this environment -- this is the worst economic environment since the Great Depression," said Yaroslavsky early Wednesday.