On November 8, Angelenos voted to tax themselves another half-cent in an effort to improve the state of transportation in the region.
Measure M needed two-thirds of voters for approval. Many more votes came in; almost 70 percent of voters punched “yes.”
“It’s a statement of how frustrated and tired L.A. County voters are with the increasingly gridlocked lives they lead,” USC professor Sherry Bebitch Jeffe told the Los Angeles Times.
The addition of a countywide half-cent increase to the sales tax, Measure M is expected to bring in $860 million annually for decades. These funds will go directly toward transportation improvement projects, including a rail line to LAX, a subway under the Sepulveda Pass, and a Purple Line extension to Westwood.
Positioning it as key to the city’s future, Mayor Eric Garcetti campaigned heavily for the passage of Measure M. Overwhelmingly, the public agreed that change is needed and solutions must be found for the heavy traffic congestion many people face daily.
This is in sharp contrast to just four years ago when Measure J was proposed. At that time, Long Beach, Pasadena and Glendale rejected what could have raised $90 billion over three decades for the expansion of rail lines. This year, not only did these three cities approve Measure M, but support jumped by 7 percentage points.
Analysis by the Los Angeles Times showed Measure M passed due in part to the strong support in neighborhoods with or around a Metro line. The greatest support came from South Los Angeles, where monies would be used for a new rapid bus line. Bebitch Jeffe said she wasn’t surprised voters would support improvements because, “poor communities rely more on public transit.”
The Times also found, however, that support was still overwhelming in areas where transit service is less frequent and in communities not slated to receive highway or rail projects.
For example, over in Carson, where the mayor vocally opposed the measure, three out of four voters supported the it even though their city will not receive any rail investment and must wait more than 20 years before for highway projects can be addressed there.
This seems to be indication that residents see the traffic problem as a regional issue and are looking for something better than what currently exists. As Glendora Mayor Gene Murabito noted to the Times, “[it] is a very good sign that our residents are excited.”
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