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LA Politicos Make Final Cases For and Against Extending Transportation Sales Tax

In 2008 Los Angeles voters passed a half-cent sales tax to finance construction of a new transit system. In November, Angelenos will decide whether to extend this tax to 2069, allowing Metro to borrow more in the short term and expedite construction.
October 26, 2012, 10am PDT | Kevin Madden
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In October the Westside Urban Forum hosted a panel, "R U Ready 4 Measure J," examining arguments for and against extending the 2008 Measure R sales tax an additional 30 years to 2069. Moderated by David Abel, editor-in-chief of The Planning Report, the panelists-Dan Rosenfeld, Senior Deputy to LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Denny Zane, Executive Director, Move LA, and California Assemblymember Mike Feuer-make clear cases around Measure J, placing debates around the ballot into a regional and historical political context.

Measure R is responsible for the recent transit boom in Los Angeles County and has been hailed as a political and economic triumph, with more than two thirds of voters supporting a tax at the height of the recession. In extending the sales tax by another thirty years, Measure J will allow the Los Angeles Metro to borrow off of an extended future revenue stream, thus making it possible to expedite project timelines and create much needed jobs. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed 30/10 Initiative is where the effort began, "to use the long-term revenue from the Measure R sales tax as collateral for long-term bonds and a federal loan which will allow Metro to build 12 key mass transit projects in 10 years, rather than 30. Accelerating construction of these 12 key Metro projects will result in substantial cost savings."

Assemblymember Mike Feuer championed the initiative in Sacramento, and it was OK'ed by a reluctant LA County Board of Supervisors. Leading the opposition is the Bus Riders Union and coalitions from the City of Beverly Hills.

Thanks to Kevin Madden

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