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Metro Seeks Half-Cent Sales Tax Hike

Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2016 – 2:45 PM

(CNS) – The Metro board of directors voted 11-2 today to move forward with a November ballot measure calling for a half-cent sales-tax hike to raise money for public transit projects and maintenance in Los Angeles County.

Voters will be asked to increase Los Angeles County’s sales tax by another half-cent, and continue the existing Measure R half-cent tax indefinitely. Metro officials had originally planned to have the proposed tax hike sunset in 40 years — which would have raised $120 billion — but announced earlier this month that they plan to propose a tax without a sunset date.

The permanent total one-cent sales tax for transit would create a sustained funding source for construction and operation, and would allow the acceleration of at nine projects, including a five-year acceleration in planned improvements on the Orange Line, an eight-year acceleration of the northern extension of the Crenshaw/LAX rail line to Hollywood and a five-year acceleration of the Green Line extension to the Norwalk Metrolink station.

The board also approved an amendment that earmarks funding for a bus rapid transit project in the San Fernando Valley.

Metro board director Mark Ridley-Thomas said that the transportation plan funded by the proposed tax hike and extension would be potentially “transformative” for the Los Angeles County.

“It’s about time the county of Los Angeles with respect to mobility steps squarely into the 21st century,” he said.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mike Bonin, who sits on the Metro board, noted a feeling that both Metro riders and other county residents who currently rely on cars are eager for a more complete public transportation system in Los Angeles, and they are willing to pay a higher tax for it.

“Folks have a very palpable hunger for us to do more,” he said. “I’ve sensed they have a lot of faith that we can do that.”


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