Metro Inching Closer To Approval of Tax Initiative

A Metro rider awaits the arrival of a Gold Line train inbound from Azusa at Union Station in Los Angeles March 5. Photo by Aaron Castrejon.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority approved 11 to 2 last Thursday a sales tax measure to fund numerous transportation projects throughout the area.

$800 million could be generated for the Los Angeles Traffic Improvement Plan if it is approved by voters November 8. The ballot measure would make permanent the half-cent Measure R sales tax measure approved in 2008 and initiate a second half-cent sales tax; both of which would remain in place until voters decide to end them.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors must vote to formally put the measure on the November 8 ballot, according to Steve Hymon, editor of the Metro transportation blog, The Source.

The ballot measure must pass with a two-thirds majority.

The Gold Line Foothill Extension from Azusa to Claremont is just one of the projects to be funded under the proposed ballot measure, which is intended to “accelerate” and possibly fully fund some of the more expensive project alternatives under Measure R, Hymon said.

The Extension from Azusa to Claremont would break ground in 2019 with an expected opening date of 2023.

Read the list of Metro projects

The ballot measure would also set aside dedicated funding for pedestrian and biking projects and to keep existing and future transit in good working order.

A portion of the sales tax revenue, potentially 17 percent, would be returned to L.A. County’s 88 cities and unincorporated communities for projects ranging from road repair, sidewalk repair and intersection improvements. Local return funding would then increase to 20 percent by 2040, Hymon said.