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Today is Critical for Public Transportation
Today, the Metro Board meets for their monthly meeting, but today is especially important because they will be voting on whether or not to ask voters in November to raise the sales tax a half-cent to 8.75%. Despite opposition, namely from the San Gabriel Valley over the Gold Line Extension, it is expected to pass. However, the politicians in Sacramento have to pass a bill to allow the proposal to go forward on the ballot. It's tricky business, but if all went according to Metro's plan, here's a good highlight of what will be funded, per Steve Hymon's list on the Bottleneck Blog (he also had an article in the print edition today):
- $7.9 billion for county-wide bus operations and expansion
- $6 billion to local cities for transportation needs on per capita basis
- $4 billion for a Westside subway extension
- $1.1 billion for Metrolink operations and expansion
- $1 billion for a mass transit project along the 405 freeway in Sepulveda Pass
- $971 million for Crenshaw Boulevard light rail or busway
- $925 million for completion of the Expo Line light rail to Santa Monica
- $735 million for the extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Claremont
- $906 million for interchange improvements on the 405, 110, 105 and 91 freeways in the South Bay
- $780 million for a 710 freeway tunnel under South Pasadena
- $590 million for 605 freeway interchange improvements
- $590 million for 710 freeway improvements in south L.A. County
- $400 million for Alameda Corridor East street crossing separations
- $250 million for countywide soundwall expansion
Even though the San Gabriel Valley got their $735 million for the second Phase of the Gold Line extension, they want $80 million now in order to secure federal funding. If passed, the sales tax will raise $30 billion, more or less over the next 30 years, so that means none of this money will be raised up front, but piecemealed out over time.
And then there's board member Micahael Antonovich, who plans to "propose an amendment that funds from the sales tax be spent proportionally based on population so that smaller municipalities aren't left out," according to Damien Newton of Streetsblog LA. Newton is also calling for bicycles to be included on the plan, which is something that should not be left out.
All in all, it's going to be nerve wrecking meeting today and if passed, a nerve wrecking few weeks to see what the state politicians decide. And then if passed, what the people decide on the November ballot.