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Metro Board Takes Step Toward Putting New Transportation Sales Tax on November Ballot

Thursday April 24, 2008

The Metro Board of Directors today took a step toward putting a new local half cent sales tax measure on the November ballot. The Board asked Metro staff to report back in June with a comprehensive package of specific street and highway improvements and public transit projects that could be funded by a new transportation sales tax in Los Angeles County.

The report also would include options for accelerating the schedule of new rail and bus projects already in the pipeline if a tax is approved by voters, a list of short-term transportation improvements that could ease traffic, and a draft ordinance.

In June the Metro Board will consider requesting that the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors put a new half cent sales tax for transportation on the November ballot. The discussion will coincide with the Metro Board’s review of the agency’s draft Long Range Transportation Plan that looks ahead to the year 2030 and addresses mobility improvements necessary to deal with another 2 million people living in the county and exponential growth in truck and rail traffic moving cargo from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

While the draft plan identifies funds for transit operations and dozens of new highway and transit projects, there is a significant funding shortfall. There is no funding for critical Tier 1 projects such as the Westside subway extension, the Foothill Metro Gold Line Extension, a downtown regional connector, 710 Freeway gap closure, and other transportation projects.

For more information on Metro’s draft Long Range Transportation Plan, go to metro.net/imagine.

Faced with mounting traffic congestion, a number of community and business organizations and local government have expressed support for putting a new local sales tax for transportation on the ballot including the City of Los Angeles, CALPIRG, Environment California, Los Angeles Business Council, Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and the Valley Industry & Commerce Association.


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