The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors has approved the release of a draft expenditure plan for public review and input that could become part of a possible November ballot measure to fund a wide variety of transit and highway projects, local roadway improvements and pedestrian and bike paths to be built over the next four decades.
“This draft expenditure plan reflects a tremendous amount of feedback from stakeholders across LA County and lays the groundwork for a regional, rational and equitable approach to meeting Los Angeles County’s diverse transit needs,” said Metro Board Chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. “This plan provides an exciting basis for a discussion about how Metro proposes to ease traffic and improve transit options for millions of Angelenos and we look forward to additional public input.”
The spending plan would generate a projected $120 billion dollars over the 40-year period for new transit and highway projects; commuter rail; transit operations and projects to keep buses, trains and facilities in good repair; pedestrian and cycling connections; and funding to keep fares affordable for students, seniors and the disabled. The plan would return some revenues to local cities on a per capita basis — money those cities could spend on their own local transportation improvements.
“I’m glad to see that the development of this spending plan really included input from all 88 cities in the county and reflects a bottoms-up approach in selecting and funding transportation improvement projects that make sense for the region’s mobility needs,” said Metro Board First Vice Chair John Fasana.
The potential ballot measure would ask voters to increase the countywide sales tax by a half-cent for 40 years and to continue an existing tax (Measure R) for an extra 18 years, meaning both would potentially run through 2057. The staff report also provides the Board with scenarios for a 45- or 50-year scenario. The Metro Board of Directors has final say on the spending plan and is scheduled to decide in June whether to put a ballot measure to voters.
"This is an ambitious, bold and desperately needed proposal that could finally deliver the comprehensive, interconnected transit network LA County needs. After more than two years of hard work, the draft plan addresses local concerns and would generate county-wide congestion relief, air quality improvements and economic benefits. We are losing billions of dollars while Angelenos continue to be mired in traffic. We must take action now. I look forward to hearing from community members and stakeholders during this public review period as we work together to build a world class transportation system,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti, Metro Board second vice chair.
The foundation of the plan includes a host of transportation improvement projects submitted by stakeholders across the county. Metro staff has been at work over the last couple of months evaluating those projects against some key performance metrics for how well the projects will ease congestion and enhance mobility, provide better access, improve safety, grow the economy, and enhance quality of life.
“Staff has worked hard at developing a plan that delivers much-needed projects in all areas of the region,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “I strongly believe this is an opportunity for our county to build a transportation network for today and generations to come.” Washington added, “This is indeed a bold plan to transform transportation.”
The performance benefits of the plan include an increase of 80 million additional transit boardings per year or 3.2 billion additional riders during the 40 year period. Additionally, this will increase transit mode shares currently at 7% to a projected 20-30%. The major projects are estimated to reduce vehicle miles traveled by nearly 5 million daily (region wide), reduce person hours of delay on the road by 15 percent, and reduce daily hours of truck delay by 15 percent, resulting in greenhouse gas reductions of 4 percent.
The public is encouraged to take a look at the plan, realizing that it is a working draft document and is subject to change as the process goes forward. The public will be able to provide input through a variety of ways including public meetings, telephone town hall meetings or at email@example.com. Public input will be compiled and shared with Board members as they contemplate a final expenditure plan and decide at their June meeting whether to put the measure on the November ballot.
Under the expenditure plan, here is a list of projects slated for completion in its first 15 years:
- Crenshaw/LAX Line station and transit center to connect with LAX people mover
- Purple Line Extension subway to Westwood (a decade earlier than currently planned)
- East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor from Orange Line Van Nuys Station to Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station
- High Desert Corridor right-of-way acquisition
- Sepulveda Pass Busway/ExpressLanes from the Valley to the Westsid
- Orange Line grade seperation improvements
- West Santa Ana Branch Corridor from Artesia to just north of the Green Line
- I-710 South Corridor truck lanes Phase 1
- Vermont Transit Corridor improvements between the Expo Line and the Red/Purple Line
- New lanes for the 71 freeway between the 10 and Rio Rancho Road
- 105 ExpressLanes between the 405 and 605
- SR-57/SR-60 Interchange Improvements
- I-5 North enhancements between the 14 freeway and Lake Hughes Road
- An extension of the Gold Line east from Azusa to Claremont
- Bus rapid transit connector between the Orange Line/Red Line and the Gold Line
- LA River Bike Path connecting downtown Los Angeles to the San Fernando Valley
- LA River Waterway & System Bike Path connecting Canoga Park to Elysian Valley
- Crenshaw/LAX Track Enhancement Project