When L.A. County voters assessed themselves a half-cent sales tax increase for transportation investment in November 2008, the county’s elected officials promised to deliver a final Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) detailing how the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) will direct $298 billion in revenue between now and 2040. After approving the 30-year blueprint last Thursday, that time is now.
The LRTP lists dozens of projects including the Subway to the Sea, extending the Green Line to LAX, expanding the successful Orange Line service in the Valley and expanding HOV lanes on the I-5, I-405 and I-10 freeways.
Transportation projects are an economic stimulus in the short term and an economic investment in the long term. They create good paying jobs from design phase to construction. And the sooner we place shovels in the ground, the more likely we will be to take advantage of the current dip in construction material costs. The Chamber looks forward to continuing to work with our partners at Metro and our elected officials to do everything possible to speed up the approval process. Just like sitting idle on the freeway, wasted time leads to wasted money.
L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is pursuing the possibility of securing an advance sum of revenue from the federal government. This would allow us to design and build more projects today so we can realize the benefits of these investments sooner. This could also be a great opportunity for our local financial institutions to partner with the county to speed up the process.
The LRTP represents what many of us have sought for years — a strategic plan to get our county moving once again. We applaud Metro and local lawmakers for their leadership. Now, we must all work together to make sure that this landmark plan becomes a reality to use and enjoy as soon as possible.