Los Angeles County begins discussion on possible new Transportation Sales Tax

students_lacmetro_2013Los Angeles County is beginning conversations for a potential transportation sales tax to be placed on the 2014 or 2016 ballot.  Currently Los Angeles County is one of the strongest self help counties regarding Transportation investments, with close to 70% of the County’s transportation funding coming from existing County sales tax (Prop A,C and Measure R), yet none of these existing 3 sales taxes dedicate a significant amount to walking and bicycling investments in the region.  Will policymakers change this and prioritize active transportation in this next sales tax?

Background: On June 20, 2013, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Director Antonovich sent a letter to Los Angeles County Councils of Governments (COGs) requesting a list of their unfunded transportation priorities for a potential new county sales tax. On August 21, 2013, Metro Board Chair Dubois sent a letter to the mayors of all the Los Angeles County cities requesting that they share their priorities with their Council of Governments (COGs) and other Regional agencies for inclusion in the developing priority/project lists.

As of the end of October 2013, Metro has received project list from 4 COGs/Subregions:

  • Gateway Cities
  • North County Transportation Coalition
  • South Bay Cities
  • San Fernando Valley COG

Metro staff is planning to report to the Board at the November Policy Comittees and then on 12/5/13 at the full Metro board meeting with a proposed schedule and process to pursue a sales tax measure in the November 2014 or November 2016 ballot.

Estimated Metro Timelines:

If November 2014 ballot is goal:

  • Conduct research on project prioritization – December 2013- January 2014
  • Secure Metro Board approval for project lists – April 2014
  • Develop and Advance legislation March 2014 – June 2014
  • Finalize and Adopt Ordinance and Resolution – June 2014

If November 2016 ballot is the goal:

  • Compile input from COG’s and Mayors and stakeholders – remainder for 2013
  • Outreach and Project List development – 2014
  • Board Adoption of Project list July 2015
  • Draft expenditure plan August 2015
  • Adopt ordinance and resolution June 2016

Now is a great time for developing recommendations for Active Transportation and Safe Routes to School funding for Los Angeles County in this possible new funding source, especially by working with Council of Government and other partners.  We are currently researching the of the role of Los Angeles County Council of Governments and how project lists are developed, see our draft memo here, it also contains contact information for each of the Los Angeles County COG’s.

See our recent blog post on the work of Advocacy Advance who compiled a report of advice from seasoned advocates from around the country. The report “Success at the Ballot Box: Winning Bicycle and Pedestrian Ballot Measures.”

And the success of Measure R offers many lessons learned for a another possible sales tax, see the 2102 report by Conservation Law Foundation: Case Study: 2008 Los Angeles County Ballot Measure to Pass a Transportation Sales Tax (Measure R).

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