An effort moving forward at the California statehouse is intended to make sure Los Angeles area transportation projects are done sooner, and ensure that funding does not dry up any time in the foreseeable future.
The Assembly Transportation Committee voted 11-1 to advance a bill to help pay for local road, bus and rail projects more quickly. If approved by lawmakers, voters in Los Angeles County could soon decide whether to extend the length of the Measure R sales tax authorization.
Approved by voters in 2008, Measure R increased the county’s sales tax by one-half cent from 8.25 percent to 8.75 percent with the revenue to be used to fund mass transit and road projects, including carpool lanes.
The tax is expected to raise as much as $40 billion for traffic relief and transportation upgrades through 2038.
Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, said the extension would provide “sweeping changes.” Specifically, it would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to bond against future Measure R proceeds and get transit projects done much sooner than initially planned, without relying on federal or state funding. He said it would also put people back to work more quickly.
“This bill will empower L.A. County to jumpstart 160,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region,” Feuer, who is running for Los Angeles city attorney, said in recent prepared remarks.
He has also noted the benefit of the county being more self reliant.
“Being able to extend the revenue stream enables the county to do unilaterally what, until now, we’ve been dependent on other levels of government for,” Feuer told lawmakers.
The bill does not specify a sunset date on the tax increase. AB1446 is awaiting further consideration in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
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