30/10 Transportation Initiative Would Create Jobs, Cut Emissions In Southern California

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Los Angeles transportation officials will decide Thursday whether to support the 30/10 Initiative, a bold financing strategy that could benefit the region’s environment, create much-needed jobs, and reduce crippling traffic congestion all in one broad stroke.

In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase that will fund critical transportation projects over the next thirty years.  But in recent months a coalition of business, labor, and environmental groups – including NRDC – has rallied behind an initiative to speed up construction of twelve of those projects and build them within the next decade.

Under the 30/10 Initiative, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) would use some form of federal help – like a loan guarantee or the use of Build America Bonds – to secure funding up-front.  Measure R revenues over the next 30 years would then go toward repaying debt obligations.

This ambitious program would help the region move even faster toward achieving the environmental benefits promised through Measure R.  According to Metro staff’s calculations, expanding Metro’s transit system would result in 208 million fewer vehicle miles traveled, reducing harmful emissions from cars and trucks by more than 568,000 pounds.

And the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce is touting a new analysis saying the initiative could create 30,000 jobs by the end of 2012, and 240,000 jobs by 2020.

But first Metro will have to approve the initiative and secure federal backing.  NRDC supports the 30/10 Initiative and the significant regional benefits it aims to achieve with respect to air quality and increased regional mobility.  You can help to ensure the success of 30/10 by contacting Metro board members and your Congressional representatives and senators.