Metro Meeting Politics Derail L.A.’s Future

subwaynoho.jpgMetro had their big board meeting last night about the future of public transportation in Los Angeles. From the looks of it, no one walked away happy about the outcome. In short, they want to get a half cent tax increase on the ballot to fund projects. They just don’t know what those projects are.

Actually, they do. They just don’t want to piss anyone off. If they say yes to the Gold Line, they make the the West side mad. Yes to a Subway to the Sea, they anger the San Gabriel Valley. And no matter what they say, people living in Cheviot Hills will never be happy.

It doesn’t have to be this way. There is one solution that would make everyone happy. Except maybe those old folks in Cheviot Hills. This solution is simple, yet bold. It is unlike anything any politician in L.A. would ever to dare to whisper on Spring Street. It is a solution that has only 2 parts:

1) Make the tax increase one full penny. My high school drama teacher used to say “Shit, or get off the pot!” We’re not stupid. Gas prices are ridiculous. Congestion is getting worse. The time to make L.A. the greenest, most walkable, transit-friendly city in America is now. That’s going to take more than 1 or 2 new rail lines. So suck it up, and do it already.

2) Give us a map we deserve. Yes, we’ve beaten this horse to an stinky, unrecognizable pulp. But, we’re going to keep swinging until Metro cleans up the mess. Make public a fully realized map of a rail network that connects the entire region. Make a completion timetable so that every single city knows when their train is arriving. It’s called a to-do list. It’s called full disclosure.

This is not East side vs. West side. This is not Gold vs. Expo. This is not Santa Monica vs. Wilshire. Therein lies the problem. This city deserves a complete system. We understand that a rail network is built one line at a time. We just need some assurance that one will eventually reach our part of L.A., right? Just give us a map and tentative dates for each line’s completion. It’s a lot easier to get votes for funding when people can see exactly where it’s going to go.

Oh, and one more thing: Stop funding road projects. Just, stop it.

Photo from CokeeOrg’s photostream

7 thoughts on “Metro Meeting Politics Derail L.A.’s Future”

  1. Amen Jason. I gave you a map in a past post. I agree 100% we have to take this on a regional needs basis.

    Nice post, but a problem with a 1% sales tax how many people that can easily shop across the county line will do so? We have ample people here in the SGV who cross lines into the OC for shopping regularly as it is. I remember when I lived in the Valley a lot of people would run to TO and take advanted of Ventura’s lower sales tax on big purchases. It happens and wonder how much business would be pushed to neighboring counties when that 1% becomes a chunk more than it cost for the gas to get there?

  2. Thank you for the update Jason. I was going to whip up a background blog post a couple of days before the meeting, but then this week got busy. :p

    I heard some of the results yesterday on KCRW. They tried to make it sound as optimistic as possible, but still it hurt.

    The problem with the meetings is people go into them thinking they can make an impact on the decisions, when in fact the decisions have for the most part already been made and all that is left for the meeting is for the different groups to react.

  3. There’s one major issue with the proposal to make the sales tax increase a full penny:

    Assemblymember Feuer’s bill only authorizes the MTA board a half-cent increase.

    If you delay this by a year or two, you’d make the vote miss the November election when turnout will be highest. Also, I think it’s much better to get started as soon as possible and hopefully lock in some costs since they keep going up.

  4. Anything that pisses off the elitist NIMBYs in Cheviot Hills I’m a big fan of. They’ve know for years that a rail line may be passing through there. In fact, it may be a contributing factor to why they’ve been able to live there without property taxes going hire, or allowed them the ability to purchase homes over there.

  5. I saw we take the sales tax all the way to 10%. I say we do it statewide, thumb our nose at the Federal government’s lackluster investment in mass transit infrastructure, and take the Republic of California into the 20th century, like our economic rivals in Japan and Europe have done. We need to turn the whole state around, not just the City of LA.

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