A bill by California Assemblyman Mike Feuer to extend the Measure R transportation sales tax in Los Angeles County by at least 10 years had a second reading on the floor, but was sent back to committee last week.
State voters in 2008 approved Measure R, a half-cent sales tax that was expected to garner $40 billion to pay for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority projects that would create a network of subway and light rail lines.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has been a leader in trying to get matching federal funds to help speed up the city’s 30-year transportation plans to create the network in the hope of completing them in a decade.
Originally called the 30-10 plan, Villaraigosa began working with California’s federal representatives to push Congress to create America’s Fast Forward program, which would provide matching federal funds to all states trying to improve their mass transit systems.
While lauded by other state officials, the legislation has failed to get full support from Congress.
In view of the holdup at the federal level, Los Angeles leaders crafted a plan to speed up the plan solely by using local funding — hence the plan to ask voters to extend Measure R.
If the bill passes the state Legislature, it would allow voters to decide in a referendum in November whether they want to extend the tax, which is currently slated to end after 2038.
Metro staff have proposed two construction schedules for the 12 rail projects proposed by the agency.
One proposal is based on all funding elements of the mayor’s accelerated plan, including federal funding, and another solely on Measure R money with the current 2039 expiration date.