ROADS/BRIDGES: Los Angeles officials seek another increase in transportation funding

June 24, 2016

Measure on November ballot would generate $860 million a year

Los Angeles County is looking to expand its transit line and pump more money into road and bridge projects, but not everyone is looking to dig into the plan currently sitting on the table.

Officials want to increase the sales tax by a half of a cent, and will allow the voters to decide in November. The measure, called the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan and approved by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority by an 11-2 count, would generate about $860 million annually for street repairs, highway improvements and new rail construction. If a two-thirds majority approves the plan, two cents of every dollar spent in Los Angeles County would go towards transportation upgrades, including 10 new highway projects. The plan also would return 17% of tax revenue to cities for road and bridge repairs, and would fund Metrolink, bus and rail operations and pedestrian and bicycle improvements.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe, who voted against putting the measure on the November ballot, said projects included in the plan would receive priority over rail lines that were part of Measure R, which increased the sales tax a half of a cent back in 2008.

During a three-hour public deliberation there were calls for projects to be accelerated or included in the package. Advocates from South Los Angeles want funding for a mile-long tunnel. Currently it is not one of the projects that would be covered in the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan.

“We don’t have a name for this measure yet, but how about Measure N, for ‘never going to pass or never going to happen?’” said Damien Goodmon, who leads the Crenshaw Subway Coalition.

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