Sunday, November 23, 2008

After Measure R passes

Now that we can celebrate Measure R passing (67.65% YES on 11/21/08 provisional vote update), what projects will be built first and how can advocates help?

As specified in Measure R (Metro Map, click to enlarge), the new 1/2-cent sales tax begins collection on July 1, 2009. Its funding breakdown is:

35% new Metro Rail and Bus Rapid Transit capital
3% Metrolink commuter rail capital
2% Metro Rail capital improvements to existing lines
5% Rail Operations
20% Bus Operations
20% Highway Capital
15% Local Return for streets, bikeways, pedestrian improvements

The transit projects funded for completion in its first ten years are:

1-A Expo Line phase 2, Culver City to Santa Monica, $925M, starting construction 2010, opening FY 2013-15
1-F Gold Line Foothill Extension, $735M, starting construction 2010, opening FY 2015-17
1-H Green Line LAX Extension, $200M, FY 2015-28
1-B Crenshaw Corridor, $1,207M, FY 2016-18
1-I S.F. Valley Canoga Corridor BRT, $182M, FY 2016-18
1-J S.F. Valley N-S Corridors BRT, $68.5M, FY 2016-18

Even better, Roger Snoble said on KPCC 11/6/08 that construction of the Foothill Gold Line "is able to move ahead very quickly, right along with Expo" Line phase 2 to Santa Monica in 2010 (21:00), as well as the Green Line to LAX (19:30). He also emphasized, "the ordinance ... has a very clear expenditure plan ... when the project would be expected to be delivered ... the people voted on that schedule ...."

On accelerating the Purple Line Wilshire Subway (1-D Westside Subway Extension, $4,074M, FY 2034-36), the LA Times Bottleneck Blog reported: "During the news conference about Measure R's passage, Metropolitan Transportation Authority chief Roger Snoble said it may now be possible to extend the line to Fairfax Avenue within six or seven years and the line could get to Westwood in 20 years."

The important Regional Connector (1-C) between the Expo/Blue and Gold lines is expected to be competitive for federal funding (estimated $708M match to $160M local), which we hope can advance it from its current FY 2023-25 scheduled completion.

How can advocates help? With funding in place, we can now focus on helping Metro's planning process complete their designs well and move forward to construction. And advocate for cities to fund bicycle and pedestrian projects with their Local Return share.

Also see Ken Alpern's CityWatch column this week and my earlier posts Metro's sales tax would fund... and Sales tax comments for more.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Election success!

Congratulations President-elect Obama! His presidency, combined with Democratic majorities in Congress, will make possible the energy, climate, and transportation policies we need.

For some very moving photos of last night's acceptance speech, see these Grant Park photos from the Chicago Tribune.

Amazingly, Los Angeles County Measure R transportation sales tax sqeaked past its needed 2/3 majority at 67.41% YES (100% reported)!

The LA Times Bottleneck Blog gave a good description of the joyful press conference this morning at Wilshire & Western. Left are two UCLA student campaigners, and lower left are Steve Hymon with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Metro CEO Roger Snoble (click to enlarge).

Proposition 1A for High Speed Rail finished at 52.2% YES. Now we'll have a lot of work ahead going from funding to completed plans to finished projects.

And the faux-clean-energy Propositions 7 and 10 were strongly defeated, 64.9% and 59.8% NO, respectively (100% reported). Four for four!