How would you spend $120 billion on improving transit in LA County? Metro wants to know
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority wants public input on a $120 billion spending plan it hopes to put on the November ballot.
The initiative would increase sales tax in L.A. County by a half-cent for 40 years and extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax, approved by voters in 2008, for an additional 18 years.
Should two-thirds of voters approve the tax, all the money would go to improving transportation in L.A. County. But the specifics have yet to be finalized.
Metro has its own ideas—which it tentatively approved and put out for public comment Thursday.
The list of projects includes a subway tunnel under the Sepulveda Pass, acceleration of the Purple Line subway to Westwood and extension of the Gold Line to Claremont.
Already, the list is drawing fans and detractors.
A crowd packed the board room Thursday to offer comment, which went on for over two hours.
A large contingent of commenters called on Metro to abandon plans for a SR-710 tunnel, a long-controversial idea that is not included in the list of projects for the ballot measure, but does remain in Metro's Long-Range Transportation Plan.
Others decried the lack of funding for a tunnel on the under-construction Crenshaw Line. Community activists have been pushing for years to move the rail line underground for a longer stretch in the Park Mesa Heights area.
Many local officials were among the speakers, pushing for projects in their areas to be accelerated.
Still other groups asked for better funding for accessibility features for the disabled, paratransit services for the elderly and greater investment in biking and walking infrastructure.
Metro will hold nine public meetings in April, telephone town halls in May and accept digital feedback via its website before it finalizes the list of projects in June.
See the full draft of Metro's proposal with a list and timeline of projects here.