The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority just needs California Gov. Jerry Brown's signature before it can ask county voters in November to for the next 30 years to accelerate rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects around the region.
A bill authorizing the ballot measure received California Senate approval Wednesday. Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) wrote the bill, known as AB 1446.
If Gov. Brown signs the bill, the Nov. 6 ballot will include Measure J—which refers to the extension of Measure R, the half-cent sales tax hike voters approved in 2008. Measure R is dedicated to the construction and operation of a specified list of transportation projects, including the , the Gold Line Extension, and various other projects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles. The sales tax increase is already set to last until 2039, raising a projected $40 billion in that time period. Approval of the November ballot proposal would extend the tax until 2069.
Click here to see the Measure J language Metro plans to include on the November ballot.
The extension would enable Metro to "bond against" future Measure R revenue from the tax, meaning the agency can estimate the anticipated amount of Measure R revenue, sell that amount in bonds to receive that estimated revenue quickly, and then pay back the bond holders when the money from the Measure R sales tax is collected.
In addition to allowing Metro to build transportation projects sooner than originally planned, relying only on local funds to do so, AB 1446 would also create jobs for local construction workers building those projects.
"We need to get these transportation projects underway now," Feuer said in statement. "By passing AB 1446, we are empowering L.A. County voters to jumpstart 160,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region."
To read AB 1446 in full, click here.
We want to know what you think, readers—are you willing to continue to pay a higher sales tax to fund transit projects? What do you think of the projects that the county has planned? Do you think the investment in transit will ultimately pay off? Vote in the poll and leave your opinion in the comments below.