The Great Subway Tax Debate

Would you vote for a subway tax if it meant building rail lines under both Wilshire AND Santa Monica?

Our favorite greeniac, Siel, has conducted a poll of her readers to determine if they would vote for a half-cent subway tax. According to their comments, they would, in favor of an extension of the Purple Line at Wilshire & Western down Wilshire Boulevard.

You might also recall recent meetings held by the MTA, where residents of West Hollywood turned out in overwhelming support of a Red Line extension from Hollywood & Highland down Santa Monica.

Two areas. Two rail lines. One clear choice.

Make it a penny, and build both.

Tell voters that we have a problem. Tell them we need to make some tough choices for the future of Los Angeles. Here is our master plan:

Phase I is the simultaneous construction of the Wilshire and Santa Monica extensions that will converge near Century City and on to Santa Monica. This will serve to alleviate traffic from Hollywood to the Westside, provide more convenient transit options for Valley residents to the beach, and establish the framework for a transportation system that will benefit the entire region.

It will take time. It will take money. But, there is now a master plan, and it starts with Phase I, and Two Tunnels to Paradise.

So, knowing that a subway tax would build both lines, would you vote for it?

16 Replies to “The Great Subway Tax Debate”

  1. No. What will happen is that some contractors will start it, get paid, and then the recession will arrest the completion. Look at the Second Ave line in NYC, which is only now getting re-started some 28 years after it was halted. The cost was astronomical then, and then the bad olde 1970s hit with a vengeance. Now it is costing even more despite its partial completion, owing to the refurbishment required.
    Buses may not be sexier, but they are better and can, with competent planning (another problem–not an “issue,” I might add) that the MTA needs to address immediately and thoroughly. (There are too many new large buses doing shuttles where but a handful of folk ride, and other lines that are far too infrequent despite each bus being SRO at round 65-70 straphangers.) Buses routes can be moved to accommodate the transient neighbourhoods of Los Angeles, whereas trains are practically static in their tracks.

  2. How about instead of the two lines meeting in Century City, have the Santa Monica Blvd line turn south at San Vicente, stop at the Beverly Center (which needs a stop), and then continue south along La Cienega to LAX? While I admit West Hollywood needs a subway line, Santa Monica Blvd through Beverly Hills definitely does not. And Santa Monica doesn’t need three rail lines (this new one, the Purple line, and Expo) while so many other deserving areas are underserved.

    And looking to the future, from the Vermont/Sunset stop, extend this new line east into Los Feliz/Silver Lake, and then north to Glendale?

  3. Buses get stuck in the same traffic as everyone else.

    I’d pay more than half-a-cent for subway! Especially for a valley subway (Ventura Blvd! Victory Blvd! plz.) Baby steps.

  4. I wouldn’t mind paying extra sales tax to fund the subway. The problem I have is what will ensure that this extra sales tax generated will actually be used to fund the subway. We have all this current tax money earmarked for transportation purposes that the government has been reappropriating to cover their budget surpluses. I can easily see the local county government doing the same thing.

  5. Interesting. But at a penny it would take a while to fund. I’d support.

    How about a CO2 Tax and target SUV’s first….make it a grand a year for older and a couple grand more on the new ones. It would immediately get those beasts that have much higher allowable emissions than a car more difficult to afford. The UK has a “carbon tax” it would help here.

    I’m with DB the gold line is pretty worthless. Give us a subway from San B’doo straight to Woodland Hills and hit several business centers where everyone seems to be heading.

  6. I live in the last place that will ever benefit from rail transit, and I’d vote for a tax to build a real subway/rail system in LA in a second.

  7. Yes on the tax. Right now. Yes.

    Also: an additional tax on non-commercial vehicles of a dollar for every pound of gross vehicle weight over 2000. Either we’ll get a subway and/or everyone with a Hummer will move to Nevada. Win-win!

  8. forgive me, why is the gold line useless?
    as a regular user of the gold line I find it incredibly useful and incredibly crowded with regular users. I’ll pay almost anything for subway to the sea. As a regular commuter from highland park to venice I would happily jump on my beloved gold line and take that to work instead of the grueling 3 hours a day I spend on the 10 freeway

  9. EMH, The Gold Line currently doesn’t go far enough East, though that will change over the next couple years. But just as important (maybe more so) for those of us who commute between the two Valleys, there’s no easy way between the Gold Line and lines in Glendale/Burbank/NoHo.

  10. Wow — blogging.la commenters are so much more transit-friendly (and in general, nicer) than commenters at my blog. Glad to see a comment stream that’s not constantly peppered with a “screw public transit, don’t tax me” vibe —

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