Los Angeles County is potentially poised to inflict a “forever” sales tax on itself and spend a majority of the funds in ways which cannot possibly produce what its supporters claim. Advocates appear oblivious to transit ridership trends and new technologies which will make Measure M an expensive and futile experiment.
Metro’s CEO Phillip Washington has stated that Metro’s goal is to convert 20-25% of the county’s population into regular transit riders. That’s the good news. The bad news is that these new riders will have to be “choice” riders. Choice riders, those who have access to a car and yet choose to ride transit, constitute less than 20% of Metro ridership and less than 2% of total passengers. The non-choice market is saturated. To achieve a 20-25% market share would require attracting 10 to 15 times the number of existing choice riders. Metro’s transit’s goal is unobtainable and creates false expectations.