October 30, 2012
Measure J: Moving today for tomorrow
Read a response to this piece here.
How much would we like to do, but simply don’t, because of traffic? Commuting questions plague us every day: How long will it take us to get to work; to go to the doctor; to get to school; to attend events for our kids or grandkids?
Measure J does not raise taxes. Instead, it extends a half-cent 30-year sales tax that voters approved in 2008 for another 30 years, from 2039 to 2069. This longer revenue stream would allow LA Metro to finance the accelerated construction now, at a time when the cost of financing and of construction is at an all-time low. Speeding up these projects would also accelerate the creation of 250,000 jobs over the decade, according to the private nonprofit LA County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) — at a time when unemployment in the county is still at a painfully high 11 percent.
The transit projects that would be accelerated — and completed between 2019 and 2025 — include the Green Line Extension to LAX, the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Transit Corridor, the Westside Subway Extension, Gold Line Eastside Extension, Green Line Extension to the South Bay, the West Santa Ana Transit Corridor to Cerritos, and the Regional Connector, which connects rail lines in downtown Los Angeles to provide one-seat rides between the San Gabriel Valley, Gateway Cities and both the Westside and Eastside.
And yes, you read us correctly – there will be a rail connection to LAX and a (yet undetermined) public transit project through the 1-405 Sepulveda Pass Corridor by 2025.
Measure J also provides another 30 years of funding to cities and unincorporated parts of LA County to use for the transportation projects of their choosing, including fixing potholes, safety improvements, signal synchronization, street and sidewalk repair and local transit service.
In addition to the betterment of Los Angeles, Measure J is a particularly important issue for AJC and the entire Jewish community. Our dependence on oil from hostile nations has put a stranglehold on our national security. With every dollar that we pump into the coffers of despots in Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and especially Iran, the more we become beholden to them. Many of the challenges faced by the United States and Israel in the Middle East are directly linked to oil, and much of it is used in the transportation sector.
Living in a city and a county known for its freeways and cars, our best bet to materially decrease our dependence on foreign oil is to get people out of their cars and on to other forms of transit – carpools, buses, rail, bicycles, and by foot.
Measure R set us on that path. Let’s keep moving down this path together.
Rabbi Mark Diamond is Regional Director of AJC Los Angeles (www.ajcla.org). Marlene Grossman is Chair of the Board of Move LA (www.movela.org). For more information about Measure J visit the website, http://www.measurej4jobs.org, and facebook page.