LA County Looks To Revive Measure J
Last November Measure J, the proposal to extend the Los Angeles County Metro transit tax to help build more rail and other public transportation projects, just barely missed the 2/3 mark by 16,000 votes. That’s the annoying news. The good news is that local leaders are looking to revive the transit tax extension:
Don’t look now but a new version of Measure J — the proposal that would have extended the half-percent sales tax for transit projects — could be making its way to the ballot.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is contacting leaders of the various Councils of Governments in the county and the officials in the 88 cities to weigh in on what it would take for them to support a new version of the tax proposal.
Rick Orlov’s article doesn’t provide details on what might be in such a proposal, though one reason for that is because local electeds are still looking at what they might want to include. Assuming the November 2016 ballot is targeted, it will take a few years to work out the details of a new transit tax package through negotiation among Metro members. So now is certainly the time to get started.
One thing that would be a big help is state action to reduce the absurd 2/3 hurdle to pass a local transit tax. Measure J got 66.6% of the vote, a landslide victory in any other race. But that’s just a hair short of 66.7%, which is what was needed. It’s ridiculous.
Proposals had been discussed late last year to propose an amendment to the state constitution to address the 2/3 rule, particularly for transit taxes. Democrats had won a supermajority in the Legislature at the November 2012 elections, but have proved hesitant to use that majority to make more fundamental reforms like that one. Let’s hope that the rule is reformed in time for the 2016 election so that the next time LA votes on passenger rail, they don’t need to clear an unfairly high bar to approve it.