It is vital that any ballot measure addressing our county’s transportation needs provides a comprehensive, regional solution to reduce congestion and improve air quality.
Previous transportation measures were created from the top down and failed to guarantee a fair share for, or consider the needs of, Los Angeles County’s 88 cities and our 134 unincorporated communities.
Those measures also failed to develop a truly regional, interconnected transportation system. Measure M, the “Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan,” corrects these failures.
In 2013, as chairman of the Metro board and following the 2012 defeat of Measure J’s proposed transit tax, I sent letters to each of the county’s 88 cities and their regional councils of government asking them to identify their local and regional transportation priorities.
This set into motion a first-of-its-kind, bottoms-up approach to assess the transportation needs of our county, which was supported by subsequent Metro chairpersons Diane DuBois, Eric Garcetti, Mark Ridley-Thomas and John Fasana.
Hundreds of meetings were held with the cities, community organizations, business groups, experts and advocates.
In contrast to previous measures, Measure M would create a regional transportation system that would be fair to our county’s local communities because it was developed from the bottom up.
It would be subject to tough accountability measures with an oversight committee and annual audits posted online. Further, all funds generated would be for local use only on transit projects in Los Angeles County – they cannot be siphoned away by the state.
Funding from Measure M would be used in each of our county’s 88 cities and unincorporated communities to repair and build new transportation infrastructure. The North County sub-region alone, including Santa Clarita, Palmdale, Lancaster and the unincorporated communities, would receive more than $3.6 billion over the first 40 years of Measure M.
Measure M would fix bottlenecks on the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 freeways, including the expansion of Interstate 5 through Castaic, and pay for local arterial road construction projects.
It would upgrade Metrolink and improve freight and goods movement by enhancing passenger and freight rail corridors and constructing critical grade separation projects.
Every year, the city of Santa Clarita would receive at least $3 million to fill potholes; to pave roads; to synchronize signals; to improve intersections.
These local return amounts were determined based on each city’s share of the countywide population and would be adjusted every year to ensure cities receive their fair and accurate return.
The county would also receive annual return, based on population, which it would use to provide similar improvements in unincorporated Santa Clarita Valley communities.
Santa Clarita Transit would receive at least $2.6 million in annual funding for its bus operations, and Metrolink would receive more than $1.2 billion.
Under the leadership of CEO Phil Washington, Metro would continue to be proactive and inclusive of the needs of our communities through the region, and Measure M would provide the resources to meet those needs into the future.
Measure M would keep student, senior and disabled fares affordable while funding critical earthquake retrofits of our bridges and overpasses.
It would also create more than 465,000 jobs; it has garnered bipartisan support from labor, business, chambers of commerce and public officials.
In November, Los Angeles County voters will have an opportunity to develop a comprehensive and interconnected transportation system to relieve congestion and gridlock, improve air quality and quality of life for the residents of our county’s 88 cities and unincorporated communities.
Measure M would modernize our aging transportation system and provide a 21st century transportation network to accelerate transit lines and tie them together into a comprehensive system with improved freeway and local road networks.
Vote “yes” on Measure M.
Michael D. Antonovich is Fifth District county supervisor, a member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board and a candidate for state Senate District 25.