Purpose

To consolidate, disseminate, and gather information concerning the 710 expansion into our San Rafael neighborhood and into our surrounding neighborhoods. If you have an item that you would like posted on this blog, please e-mail the item to Peggy Drouet at pdrouet@earthlink.net

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Boosters of proposed transit sales tax woo San Fernando Valley voters

http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20150227/boosters-of-proposed-transit-sales-tax-woo-san-fernando-valley-voters


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 R2.

 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.

 Now mass 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.

“This 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 come.

“The Valley now wants public transit that works.”

The “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.

At its 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 upgrades.

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 tax.

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 proposition.

“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.

Some 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 Gabriel Valley.

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.

“The San 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.

How 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 voters?

“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.”