AirTalk for November 1, 2012

Measure J aims to start the engines on public transportation

Corey Moore/KPCC

Measure J hopes to extend half-cent transportation sales tax passed by Measure R last year.

In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, a half-cent sales tax earmarked to fund light rail transportation and scheduled to expire in 2039. Now, the proponents of Measure J want to extend that tax for another 30 years to accelerate those projects.

Business leaders and organized labor see the measure as a way accelerate jobs and the economy as well – if the measure passes, Metro officials say, wheels could hit the ground on about 15 transit projects approximately 15 years ahead of schedule. But there’s plenty of opposition: county supervisors Mike Antonovich and Don Knabe have said the continuation of the tax mortgages our future; city councilman Bernard Parks says it strains the budgets of an already struggling population.

Various neighborhood groups, from Crenshaw to Boyle Heights, object to the planned transit routes, which would impact low-income areas. And the powerful Bus Riders’ Union, which is fighting Measure J, has criticized Metro for underserving routes that carry minority riders to and from work.

Do you mind the extra half-cent you’ve been paying in sales tax? Do you support continuing the tax if it means revving up public transportation? How would extending the Gold Line, the Green Line and the Westside Subway impact your neighborhood?

Guest:

Zev Yaroslavsky, Los Angeles County Supervisor

Sunyoung Yang, lead organizer for the Bus Riders' union and spokesperson for the Coalition to Defeat Measure J


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