Tuesday, June 25

LA Metro releases report on possible 2016 tax increase initiative


Los Angeles County Metro officials announced Monday several projects that could be funded with a half-cent sales tax increase, which could go on ballot in 2016. (Daily Bruin file photo)

Los Angeles County Metro officials announced Monday several projects that could be funded with a half-cent sales tax increase, which could go on ballot in 2016. (Daily Bruin file photo)


Los Angeles County Metro officials announced Monday several projects that could be funded by a half-cent sales tax increase, including an extension of the Purple Line from Westwood to Santa Monica and a train on Sepulveda Boulevard among others.

The announcement comes after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill last Wednesday which allows Metro officials to put the tax increase on a 2016 ballot.

Officials anticipate the sales tax, which would take effect in 2017 and last until 2057, can raise about $120 billion in total, according to a Metro press release.

Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, who drafted the bill, said he thinks the tax increase can help modernize Los Angeles County’s transportation system.

Each region in the county and other facilities, such as the Los Angeles International Airport, submitted a list of transportation-related priorities it wants to achieve with the tax increase.

Westside City Council of Government made public outreach and listed their priorities to Metro, included extending the Purple Line from Westwood to Santa Monica, which would cost $2.6 billion.

The Purple Line is currently scheduled to reach Westwood by 2035. Metro CEO Phillip Washington sent a letter last month, asking for federal funding so Metro can finish the extension by 2024.

Other high-priority Westside projects included creating a $300 million Bus Rapid Transit line on Lincoln Boulevard in Santa Monica, and a $3.3 billion train line on Sepulveda Boulevard from the San Fernando Valley to LAX.

More than two-thirds of voters must approve to raise sales tax. Los Angeles voters approved a half-cent sales tax increase in 2008 called Measure R, which is expected to raise about $40 billion before it expires in 2039.

Measure R helped fund the Expo Line and the Purple Line extension, among other projects.

Los Angeles voters also approved half-cent tax increases in 1980, 1990 and 2008.

Other proposed projects outside of West Los Angeles include a Crenshaw/LAX Line extension to West Hollywood or Hollywood, and a Red Line extension from North Hollywood to the Burbank Bob Hope Airport.

Metro officials will vote in December on whether to put the sales tax on a ballot. If approved, they will release a preliminary draft of the expenditures by March 2016 and finalize it by June 2016.

Compiled by Roberto Luna Jr., Bruin senior staff.

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