Let's Get Moving, MTA Board
Efforts to relieve traffic congestion through new highways and transit projects often inch along like rush hour traffic on the 405 freeway. This Thursday, the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Board of Directors can help accelerate those efforts by approving Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 30/10 proposal. Voting "yes" is a smart strategy to get L.A. County moving again.
In 2008, L.A. County voters approved Measure R, a half-cent sales tax increase to raise $40 billion over the next 30 years in order to build an extensive set of transit and highway projects. The 30/10 plan would speed up the construction of 12 of the transit projects by seeking the money upfront to build 30 years worth of projects in 10 years. A loan from the federal government would allow the projects to get started right away and would be paid back and guaranteed by the steady flow of Measure R revenue.
The economic impact of 30/10 would be felt almost immediately, according to a just-released economic analysis by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation. Nearly 30,000 new jobs could be created by the end of 2012 and 240,000 new jobs by 2020 — most specifically in the construction, transportation, real estate and manufacturing sectors. Once completed, the effort will have generated almost $70 billion in economic output throughout Southern California.
In addition to spurring new jobs, 30/10 would be a major step forward for those of us tired of sitting in traffic or seeking more convenient mass transit. Long-sought after projects like the "subway to the sea" would be completed much sooner that originally envisioned. That would be great for our quality of life, mobility and the environment.
The L.A. Area Chamber championed Mayor Villaraigosa's 30/10 plan in Washington, D.C. last month with more than 225 local business and civic leaders in support. The idea resonated through the halls of Congress with plenty of positive feedback as Congress considered ways to stimulate the economy through timely infrastructure investments. Already, lawmakers from around the country are beginning to view 30/10 as a potential model for similar investments in their regions.
Before Metro can pursue next steps with the federal government, the MTA Board has to approve the plan. There are a number of different financing opportunities through existing federal funding programs and new, innovative ideas — like establishing a National Infrastructure Bank. However, the road begins with our local MTA board and their approval is the first step towards moving 30/10 forward.
We've all heard that old proverb "out of crisis comes opportunity." The 30/10 plan is an opportunity. Now, it's time for the MTA Board and all of us to make it happen. Let's get moving! Take action today by voicing your support of the 30/10 proposal to the MTA Board.
And that's The Business Perspective.
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