By Dana Bartholomew, February 27, 2015
Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian speaks at a San Fernando
Valley Transit Town Hall on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 regarding Measure
Seven years ago, voters across Los Angeles County barely approved
Measure R, a half -cent sales tax that resulted in nearly no
transportation upgrades for the San Fernando Valley.
transit boosters are appealing to snubbed Valley voters for their
crucial support in passing another proposed half-cent transportation
sales tax known as Measure R2 for the November 2016 ballot.
is a really important moment in the transportation history of the San
Fernando Valley,” said Councilman Paul Krekorian, a Metro and Metrolink
board member, addressing a packed rally for a Measure R2 late Thursday
at the Van Nuys Civic Center. “We’re embarking on a discussion that will
affect transportation in the San Fernando Valley for generations to
“The Valley now wants public transit that works.”
“Imagining Our Transportation Future” transit town hall meeting drew
elected leaders, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials, public
transit advocates and hundreds of Valley and Santa Clarita residents
for a three-hour conversation about local transit needs.
heart was a draft for a so-called Measure R2, a second sales tax measure
that could raise $90 billion over 45 years for a raft of transportation
Supporters, including town hall hosts Move LA,
a Santa Monica-based public transit advocacy group, and the San
Fernando Valley Council of Governments, which Krekorian chairs, hope to
put it before voters in late 2016. It would add to the current half-cent
To win their support, they had to address a shortcoming of bond
Measure R, a 30-year half-cent sales tax that narrowly passed in 2008.
Of $40 billion in rail, bus and highway projects, few were destined for
the Valley — which makes up 30 percent of Los Angeles but got only 13
percent of the money, county Supervisor Michael Antonovich said, getting
just two of 80 Metro rail stops.
Another transportation sales tax
initiative in 2012 would have extended the countywide transportation
sales tax, but Measure J failed to achieve a required two-thirds vote.
While he didn’t support the first transportation tax, Antonovich said
it’s time voters step up to bankroll new rail lines, “grand boulevard”
street improvements, bicycle lanes and a potential tunnel beneath the
traffic-choked Sepulveda Pass.
He called for a “bottom up”
approach to transportation planning, with buy-in from 88 cities and half
a dozen councils of government.
“We’re all in agreement to see
that the San Fernando Valley and the north county receive the resources
that they need,” Antonovich told the town hall meeting. “Historically,
the (Valley) has not received its fair share in the Measure R
“In the past, you had cotton candy — a lot of fluff, no substance. This time, we want broccoli, all substance.”
The improvements being championed by Metro and such groups as Move LA would be funded by $27 billion in new railroad money.
proposals include: Convert the Metro Orange Line into a faster light
rail line. Extend a light rail line down Van Nuys Boulevard, also known
as the East Valley North-South Transit Corridor.
Punch a rail line from
the North Hollywood Red Line Station to Burbank Airport, then loop down
Interstate 5 to Union Station. Run a rail line from Glendale along the
134 Freeway to the Metro Gold Line in Pasadena, then out to the San
And the whopper: A proposed tunnel drilled under the Sepulveda
Pass with a potential toll road and rail line connecting Sylmar with Los
Angeles International Airport. Minimum cost: $6 billion.
Fernando Valley needs to be very happy,” said Denny Zane, executive
director of Move LA and a former mayor of Santa Monica. “Because we have
to win a two-thirds vote.”
Many residents at the town hall, however, were skeptical.
can Valley voters support a Measure R2 when the Valley stands to be
disrupted by a high-speed bullet train? they asked. And what about the
current Metro stations that lack parking, bathrooms, cafes and even
drinking fountains. And why should a majority of taxpayers ante up more
money to shore up a public transit system used by only 10 percent of
“The bulk of the people who are paying for this will not be
taking rapid transit,” one man said. “They own cars, they want something
in return -- like fixing the 101/405 (freeway) interchange.”