Los Angeles County is at the cusp of serious transportation greatness.
Here is just some of the proof:
- The San Gabriel Valley and the Westside have new rail extensions serving thousands of riders daily.
- We have three new bike-share systems in Santa Monica, downtown Los Angeles, and West Hollywood.
- The City of L.A. now has a groundbreaking plan to embrace transportation technology.
- We are more than halfway finished constructing a new rail line that will bring us to LAX.
- El Monte has a top-of-the-line bike hub at the highly traveled bus rapid transit station.
- Fifty percent of the riders on the newly expanded Expo Line either walk, bike or roll to the train.
But, as anyone who travels in the L.A. area knows, the work isn’t done. That’s where Measure M comes in.
Measure M, or the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, will push LA County into full-scale transportation success, which we support as an air- pollution-reduction and climate-change strategy.
Getting to this point has taken a long time.
For the past 10 years, NRDC has pushed state, regional, and local initiatives that address California’s greatest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions—the transportation sector. That’s resulted in the passage of AB 32, which set up our state’s 2020 overall climate goals in California, then the passage of SB 375, which required regional planning to coordinate the transportation, land use, and housing plans to reduce vehicle miles traveled.
We worked hard to get a groundbreaking regional plan, known as the Sustainable Communities Strategy, adopted in Southern California. That regional plan demonstrates how an integrated approach to land use strategies and transportation investments can lead to fewer vehicle miles traveled.
What we need next is a countywide commitment to truly move the needle on transforming L.A.’s transportation system to provide a wide variety of options for Angelenos to get out of their cars.
Measure M is that next step in a nearly decade long movement to shift to a 21st century transportation network—one in which vehicle-dependence and sitting alone in traffic is no longer the status quo.
How will Measure M deliver Los Angeles a more functional, sustainable transportation system?
Measure M commits to investment in bus and rail operations; expanding our bus and rail system, keeping transit fares low for seniors, students, and the disabled; funding more regional bike-sharing; and improving walkability.
In fact, and it’s a bit shocking, Measure M would be Los Angeles County’s first sustained source of funding for walking and biking projects. It’s a revolutionary moment from a transportation funding perspective and for building out a real transportation network that connects us all.
Measure M also includes what is called “local return,” meaning every local government in the county will have its own set of funds to spend on transportation. We look forward to working with cities as they develop approaches for spending their local return to maximize the potential of these investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and make communities more livable.
Just looking at cities where my tias, tios, and primos (aunts, uncles and cousins, for the uninitiated) live, I am excited about the future of those communities. Lakewood would collect about $1.2 million, South Gate would have about $1.4 million to spend, Torrance would have $2.1 million, and Downey would bring in $1.6 million, annually.
If local governments spend these funds wisely and in a way that responds to the needs of their residents, our communities could see substantial investment in walkable and bikeable places that improve mobility and public health.
Ensuring sustainable places where my family can live and thrive is exactly why I came to work at NRDC and why I am proud to have NRDC endorse Measure M.