Oct 30 2012
A transportation measure in LA County this November that brings attention to public transit and civil rights concerns is Measure J.
J, an extension to Measure R which was approved in 2008, will extend a half-cent tax for an additional 30 years to fund the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). The sales tax is not new, but if J passes, it will be extended to the year 2069.
Proponents of Measure J say it will speed up the completion of several projects that were introduced after Measure R was passed by starting construction in five years rather than twenty. Projects include extending the Green Line to LAX and a Westside Subway Extension. However, many of the projects will also rely on outside funding in order to see completion.
Measure J’s supporters and funders include the L.A. Dodgers, AEG, LACMA and Mayor Villaraigosa, who together have raised $2.2 million dollars in campaign contributions. According to them, Measure J will bring 400,000 new local jobs, decrease traffic and will make popular areas more accessible by train.
Opponents of Measure J, which include the Bus Riders Union and City Supervisors Michael Antonovich and Don Knabe, say the measure is discriminatory and promotes gentrification in low income communities of color.
While most of the revenues from the Measure J sales tax will be spent on the rail system, in the last five years alone bus service has been cut by almost one million hours, making it difficult for low wage employees to travel to and from work. Metro Officials have publicly said they prefer focusing on rail projects.
But in 2011, a federal civil rights review showed that the MTA had violated civil rights regulations knowingly – their cuts to bus services were known by MTA to be racially discriminatory. The MTA’s rail expansion make them property owners throughout Los Angeles, and as such, it has encouraged developers to construct high-end shopping centers, homes and businesses along their rail routes.
GUEST: Sunyoung Yang, Lead organizer with Bus Riders Union
Visit www.noonmeasurej.net for more information.