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Let’s Get Local! How LA Should Spend $4B in Potential New Transpo Funds

 GUEST COMMENTARY--As Metro considers a potential transportation sales tax for the ballot in November 2016,  jurisdictions such as the City of Los Angeles will see what’s called “local return” funds with this new possible revenue.  Right now the draft plan proposes 16% of the potential Metro Measure go back to cities and unincorporated areas of the County.  So far, there are no policy requirements how jurisdictions spend this local return, so each city and the unincorporated parts of Los Angeles County will make these policy decisions.

What is local return? They are funds allocated and distributed monthly to jurisdictions on a “per capita” basis by Metro. The City of Los Angeles, given its size, receives the biggest local return in the County, many estimate that this has the potential to be $4 billion in transportation funds for the City of Los Angeles if the Metro sales tax is successful.

City of Los Angeles: LA is beginning discussions on how to use these new transportation dollars if Metro’s transportation sales tax is successful. There are already two motions introduced by Councilmembers on how to potentially use these funds (Motion 1, It is likely that these will begin to be discussed on Wednesday May 25th at the City of LA’s  Transportation Committee.

Join us on Thursday 5/12 at 2pm for a conference call/webinar to discuss this opportunity in the City of Los Angeles. Kindly email John Guevarra at john@investinginplace.org for registration and a calendar invite. 

Investing in Place was dismayed to see the Los Angeles Times op-ed from Council Member Joe Buscaino advocating that we focus only on potholes with these funds. So far there is no mention of a strategic vision for these funds, as well as an issue important to us — of funding/accelerating the fixing of the City’s over 11,000 miles of broken sidewalks with these public dollars. Let’s change this.

Investing in Place supports fixing potholes, but we’d like to see a more strategic, data informed approach base on needs/outcomes and community input. 

Investing in Place supports prioritizing fixing broken sidewalks, improving the safety of crosswalks, addressing the backlog of bus stops in need of investments, and the implementation of existing plans (Mobility 2035, Vision Zero, Safe Routes to School Strategic Plan and more) brought into this important policy and funding conversation.

It is critical that the City of Los Angeles take a thoughtful and inclusive approach with the potential $4 billion in new transportation funds to address improving our communities and all the ways we travel on our streets and sidewalks.  After all, do we want $120 billion in transportation taxes and still have broken #lasidewalks and crosswalks?  We sure don’t.

(Jessica blogs at Investing In Place … where this perspective was first posted.)

-cw