Los Angeles County voters will be asked in November to approve a half-cent sales tax increase that would continue indefinitely to fund a major expansion of Southern California’s transit network and boost the local economy.

The County Board of Supervisors unanimously agreed to add the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s tax increase proposal to the November ballot.

The Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan would generate at least $860 million per year to expand the county’s rail/transit network and fully or partially fund 10 new highway projects.

Metro says the plan will boost the local economy, according to analysis by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). The latest economic forecast by LAEDC estimates that more than 465,000 jobs and $79.3 billion in economic output would result from infrastructure projects funded by the ballot measure over its first 50 years.

  • Transit projects will generate $51.1 billion in total economic output for the Southern California regional economy. Work on these projects will create 316,300 jobs with over $17.5 billion in labor income.
  • Highway and freeway projects are estimated to have a total economic output of $28.2 billion. The total number of jobs related to these projects is estimated to be 149,390 with almost $8.6 billion in labor income.
  • Over $9.5 billion in state, local and federal tax revenues will result from the economic activity generated by these transportation projects over the 50-year analysis period.

The proposal would raise the county’s base sales rate to 9.5%. The half-cent tax would double to one cent in 2039 to replace the revenue lost when Measure R, another half-cent sales tax, expires. The one-cent tax would then continue indefinitely. Metro officials have requested that the initiative be called “Measure M,” but a name has not yet been formally assigned.

Representatives for local municipalities, labor unions and advocacy groups have voiced their support for the measure. “Our region has some of the worst traffic jams and smog in the country,” said Glendora Mayor Gene Murabito, the president of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments. “We must act now.”

Source: Los Angeles Times