By Dakota Smith, October 29, 2013
Less than a year after voters shot down a plan to pay for more
transit projects, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Tuesday transit
officials are considering putting another transportation initiative on
In prerecorded remarks broadcast at the Mobility 21
conference in downtown Los Angeles, Garcetti said the consensus among
Los Angeles County leaders is that “we desperately need more
transportation investments.” The mayor recently met with dozens of
county officials to discuss transit options, he told attendees gathered
at the J.W. Marriott Hotel.
“Currently, all the cities across L.A. County are submitting
their ideas for investments as part of another possible
transportation-investment ballot initiative,” Garcetti said. “These
efforts will ultimately expand our transit system while at the same time
increasing planning efforts to deliver vibrant neighborhoods along our
Garcetti’s remarks were part of the
official kickoff of the annual one-day gathering of Southern California
transportation, planning and business groups focused on transportation
funding and legislation at the state and federal levels.
The conference regularly draws hundreds of local and regional
groups. During his tenure, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa used the event to
unveil transit initiatives and push for federal funds.
who sits on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, couldn’t
attend Tuesday’s event in person, as he was in Washington, D.C., seeking
money for L.A. River improvements and a transportation connection to
the Los Angeles International Airport.
Garcetti spokesman Yusef
Robb said the mayor’s remarks at the Mobility conference were not an
indication of support for an extension of Measure R, the voter-approved
half-cent sales tax that’s currently paying for an array of rail, bus
and highway projects.
Measure J, a proposed 30-year extension of Measure R, failed to pass by a slim majority last year.
Robb said Garcetti was simply referencing recent actions taken by Los
Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, who also sits on the MTA
board. Antonovich has been talking to local communities about what
projects they want to see built under another ballot initiative.
Antonovich, along with County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky also authored a
motion approved by the MTA board on Tuesday to allocate $500,000 to
help the San Fernando Valley Council of Governments develop a “Mobility
Matrix” that would identify some of the Valley’s transportation needs.
“Cutting traffic is a priority for Mayor Garcetti and he is
currently exploring all options to ease congestion for Angelenos,” Robb
MTA Chief Executive Officer Art Leahy, who also attended the
conference, struck a skeptical tone when addressing a possible
extension. “We will evaluate whether we do a Measure J again,” Leahy
told the Daily News. “I don’t know if we will. It’s possible that would
happen in either 2014 or 2016.”
Timing of the ballot measure is
key: Strong turnout in the 2016 presidential election could help passage
of a tax measure, while a 2014 measure could compete with city
officials’ plans to put a road-repair bond to voters.