Big news, LA’s second largest newspaper, The Daily News, just endorsed Measure R!
Key highlights: “It makes better sense to put the transportation money where the problem is, and the Westside corridor – which is one of the major work centers for Southern California – is so bad it radiates traffic horror to every corner of the city almost every day. When crime is up in Pacoima, the LAPD doesn’t beef up patrols in Westchester just to be fair.”
LA Daily News editorial
Measure R flawed, but needed
Over a barrel. Under the gun. Between a rock and hard place. Back against the wall. In a corner.
There are dozens of clichés that describe where Los Angeles is when it comes to Measure R, the sales tax increase for transportation projects. Sadly, they are all apt.
Like it or not, we desperately need Measure R. For decades we have failed to make a serious investment in transportation, and now Angelenos are paying the price with long, costly commutes, millions of wasted hours, dirty air and an eroding quality of life. We’ve deferred making a real investment in the local transportation system – freeways and buses, road improvements and traffic signals – for so many years that the dribbles of funding from the state bonds or from federal transportation bills don’t even pay for emergencies.
We’re not thrilled with a tax during an economic downturn, and we don’t think voters will be either. But we’re recommending that voters make the tough, unpleasant and counterintuitive decision to support a sales tax hike of one-half of 1percent during tough times.
It’s a tough choice for a much-needed expense. There are many things to dislike about Measure R, starting with its long life span of 30 years. As well, sales taxes are inherently regressive, hitting those at the lower end of the economic spectrum the hardest. In this case, however, the lack of good public transportation costs poorer Angelenos a disproportionate amount already. For their benefit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority has thrown in a delay of planned fare increases to sweeten this tax.
A sales tax is also more honest than a parcel or bond that puts the tax burden only on property owners. In this case, two-thirds of the voters must decide that paying an extra 50 cents for every $100 in purchases is worth having a Westside subway, for getting the Valley’s Orange Line extension a few years earlier or for the many other projects to be funded by the measure. There’s also the upside of creating thousands of jobs to improve L.A.
It’s true that much of the money will go to the so-called “subway to the sea” and other Westside projects. That’s what got L.A. County Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich and Gloria Molina working against the measure. They aren’t complaining about raising taxes on their constituents during tough times; they just want an equal share of the revenues – whether they need it or not. In fact, they’re supporting another sales tax in the spring that will give their regions more of the revenue from any sales tax. That’s pork-barrel spending at its worst.
It makes better sense to put the transportation money where the problem is, and the Westside corridor – which is one of the major work centers for Southern California – is so bad it radiates traffic horror to every corner of the city almost every day. When crime is up in Pacoima, the LAPD doesn’t beef up patrols in Westchester just to be fair. Besides, this money will go a long way toward transportation projects that improve things for everyone in the greater Los Angeles region.
We’ve reached the point where the leaks in Los Angeles County’s transportation system can no longer be ignored. We can’t count on the state or the feds to bail us out. We must make the hard choice. Will we let our transportation system deteriorate or will we make the sacrifice and invest in our future?