LA Metro thinking and investing BIG

January 28th, 2014

The Los Angeles area is aggressively leveraging billions in local tax dollars to transform the region into a more vibrant place with a variety of transportation options.

Measure R Spending Breakdown

Measure R Spending Breakdown

The conventional wisdom today is that the days of big expensive transportation investments are over.  Los Angeles apparently didn’t get the memo.  The main transportation planning and development agency in the LA area, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro), is currently leading the development of the nation’s largest regional transportation expansion program.  The program of projects, Measure R, was overwhelmingly approved by more than two-thirds of LA county voters in 2008, and raised the local sales tax one-half cent.  The half-cent sales tax is expected to raise $40 billion over 30 years (including an estimated $590 million in 2012) to provide the lion’s share of funding for Measure R transportation projects around the region, helping Angelenos avoid some of the area’s legendary traffic congestion.  Not satisfied with the already impressive pace of expansion, LA Metro’s Board of Directors is now exploring a second ballot measure that could come as early as 2016.

Measure R includes an impressive array of transit projects, including the Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit extension, Expo and Regional Connector light rail lines, and the Westside Subway, among others.  Below is a map of the transit projects fully or partially funded by Measure R (click on the map below for the interactive version):

Measure R Transit Map

Measure R Transit Map (source: LA Metro)

Though Measure R provides substantial local funding for transportation construction and operations, some corridors were given seed money for planning studies, so that future local, non-local or private funding sources might be identified.  One such case is the Sepulveda Pass Corridor, which connects the San Fernando Valley with the densely populated west side through the Santa Monica Mountains and the heavily congested 405 freeway.  LA Metro recently studied this corridor and considered a wide range of options, from inexpensive freeway shoulder-running Metro Rapid buses along the 405 up to a new combined tolled highway and heavy or light rail transit tunnel with a price tag of over $30 billion!  Although no decisions have been made, the LA Metro Board could include the Sepulveda Pass corridor in a future funding package.

Sepulveda Pass Rail Transit Tunnel Alternative

Sepulveda Pass Corridor Study Rail Transit Tunnel Alternative (source: LA Metro)

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