The Vision for a $120 Billion Public Transportation Revolution in Los Angeles

Los Angeles Metro's new Chief of Planning Therese McMillan joins the agency at a pivotal moment, as county voters will decide in November whether to approve a new, evergreen sales tax to fund future Metro public transportation expansion.

2 minute read

July 6, 2016, 7:00 AM PDT

By rzelen @rzelen

Metro Subway Los Angeles

Yusef El-Mansouri / Shutterstock

In late June, the full board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to approve the agency's expenditure plan to fund 45 projects countywide. This expenditure plan hopes to transform the entire Southern California region, bringing light and heavy-rail projects to some of the nation's worst areas of congestion.

The ballot measure, commonly referred to as Measure R2, will provide upwards of $120 billion in funding if voters support the measure with two-thirds of support. Metro's new Chief of Planning Therese McMillan will be responsible for "anticipating the whole life cycle of the transportation system," as she puts it in an exclusive interview with The Planning Report

Speaking about L.A.'s need to plan for long-term maintenance and reinvestment, McMillan paints a comprehensive picture of the role that planning will play in realizing Metro’s innovative, community-oriented vision for L.A. As Metro looks to incorporate new paradigms, such as public-private partnerships, into their infrastructure planning, McMillan opines on how she plans to organize the numerous moving parts that make up the planning mosaic.

According to McMillan, the mosaic "clarifies who our transportation system needs to serve, the assets that we need to put forward, and what resources we need. The role of planning is to lay out all of these factors and to bring some clarity to the discussion—including by pointing out the trade-offs that may be involved in resource allocation."

McMillan, the new Chief of Countywide Planning, brings expertise from her years at the Federal Transit Administration in Washington, D.C. With experience at both the federal and regional levels, McMillan is practiced at managing the many equally pressing transit priorities of a diverse populace. In discussing her time in DC, McMillan learned that "to collaborate across government agencies, you need to buy into an ongoing effort over a long period of time, and commit to the long term for change. That’s the biggest lesson I brought back, and it’s something that I think will help in [LA Metro CEO Phil Washington's] and our efforts here in the county."

Read more of McMillan's interview in The Planning Report and be sure to subscribe as issues surrounding Metro's Measure R2 heat up in advance of the November election.  

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