Transportation demands in Los Angeles continue to grow, but the funding to support that growing capacity is very limited. The freeways are a mess with traffic, roads are in disrepair, and buses on popular boulevards are packed like sardines. Our trains don't have enough coverage considering LA's scale, but in spite of this, have been seeing larges growths in ridership.
This is why we need Measure R to generate funding to be used exclusively for transportation projects. These projects would confront transportation issues on several fronts. With highway and street improvements, local improvements for pedestrians and cyclists, but most significantly as far is this blog is concerned, by devoting a significant portion of funding to expand our commuter train network.
Trains are essential in reliving traffic tension for our growing population and economy. A single train can be carrying passengers in the hundreds depending on the number of cars. At lower traffic times additional cars can be removed for less carrying weight. Their energy efficiency compared to cars especially and even buses is simply unrivaled. They contribute to an environmentally sustainable economy by replacing pollution heavy car trips as well as reducing land use demands like parking spaces. And very importantly to many Angelenos, they can bring down commute times for everyone, not just for the people riding them, but motorists who would be sharing the road with less cars.
Los Angeles completely killed it's formerly extensive rail system in the conversion to an automobile based society, but sprawling development and traffic woes on over stressed freeways necessitated bringing trains back into the mix. With our currently limited rail network growing ridership to rival much larger systems like BART, the time is ripe for further train development in Los Angeles County.
A number of different train projects would receive funding from Measure R. With the spending oversights in place, these projects and the budgets for them would be locked unless a requested change goes through a year of review.
1A Exposition Boulevard Light Rail Transit: Culver City to Santa Monica
Extends the Exposition Rail Line, currently under construction to Culver City, to Santa Monica.
1B Crenshaw Transit Corridor (project acceleration)
Accelerates construction of a line along the Crenshaw Bl Corridor and connects Los Angeles, Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo, plus unincorporated LA County.
1C Regional Connector: Links Local Rail Lines
Links four light rail lines that terminate at the edges of Central LA. Expected to provide seamless connections between Long Beach/Pasadena, and Culver City/East LA, minimizing the need for rail transfers.
1DWestside Subway Extension (to be opened in segments)
Extends Metro Rail to the Westside. The project is expected to serve Century City and Westwood/UCLA.
This project is my personal favorite, and although Measure R would only carry it to UCLA, further funding sources such as the federal government would be sought after to extend it all the way to Santa Monica. Click for more info on the West Side Extension at Metro's site, and the official facebook group is another great source of information.1E Gold Line Eastside Extension
Extends Metro Gold Line farther east from the Pomona/Atlantic Station.
1F Gold Line Foothill Light Rail Transit Extension
Extends the Metro Gold Line from its current terminus in Pasadena toward Claremont.
1G Green Line Extension: Redondo Beach Station to South Bay Corridor
Continues the Metro Green Line from its current terminus in Redondo Beach to the South Bay Galleria.
1H Green Line Extension to Los Angeles International Airport
Links the Metro Green Line to LAX at the Aviation Station.
Yes! At long last, the train that almost goes to LAX would be go that last couple miles.1M Metrolink Capital Improvement Projects (Los Angeles County)
Purchases trains, expands the Eastern Maintenance Facility and upgrades sidings and crossovers to increase speed and safety. Local jurisdictions could use funds to improve parking and station facilities within their cities and offer connecting shuttle services.
In light of the recent Metrolink tragedy, and their shoestring budget, funding improvements for Metrolink are very important.1N Metro Rail Capital Projects
Maintains rail facilities by improving operational systems, upgrading rail yards and purchasing new rail cars.
1O East Light Rail Access (Gold Line)
Increases access, including pedestrian and bicycle, to the Gold Line Eastside Light Rail project.
Your probably wondering how is this all going to be paid for. Measure R would raise the sales tax in L.A. County by half a cent, and would be estimated to generate around 40 billion dollars over 30 years. People hate traffic in Los Angeles, but people also hate paying for things. However, it's estimated the average citizen would be paying only about $25 a year on this tax according to the LAEDC. I feel that is pretty reasonable considering the long term benefits these projects will bring to the future economy and quality of life here in Los Angeles. At a time with high unemployment, the non-outsourceable jobs these projects would create are nothing to scoff at either.
Measure R is more than just adding trains. Road project improvements, large and small are proposed as well, and Lord knows we need them. For the sake of this blog I wanted to just highlight the rail projects. If you want to find out more about this measure, I encourage you to read up on it at the Measure R informational page. A new facebook group has also been started to promote the proposal, and will likely feature continued updates as we near the election.