Measure M: LA County Sales Tax for Transportation Projects

What is Measure M?

Measure M would raise the sales tax in L.A. County to fund a 40-year transportation plan that would build or improve bus service, rail service, subways, freeways, roads, bridges, bike paths and more.

How much would sales taxes go up?

Sales taxes in L.A. County would go up ½ cent for every dollar you spend on taxable items.

This would be added to whatever your local city tax is. Most cities in LA County have a 9% sales tax. So it would go up to 9.5%.

How much more would I have to pay?

Experts say it would mean an increase of about $25 a year for the average household.

How would the money be used?

The sales tax would fund the expansion and improvement of dozens of projects. A lot of the money would be distributed to cities.

Here’s a partial list of the planned projects.

  • Expand light rail through LA County and maintain and repair existing lines
  • Add bus routes including rapid transit lines.
  • Widen and/or and make improvements on the 5, 10, 57, 60, 71, 91, 105, 110 and 710 freeways.
  • Invest in rail lines along the 60, 105, 210 and 405 freeways.
  • Build better freeway transitions
  • Make street improvements (filling potholes and repaving.)
  • Build a downtown streetcar project
  • Give seniors, students and the disabled discount fares ($2.4 billion)
  • Build more bike paths and pedestrian connections ($2.4 billion)
  • Incorporate modern technology into transportation systems.

Where can I get more details on what projects are on the list?

Go to: http://theplan.metro.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/factsheet_measurem.pdf

How much money would be raised?

The MTA says the tax hike would bring in about $860 million a year.

Would the sales hike be permanent?

Yup. There is no end date.

Who is supporting Measure M and why?

The MTA is the main proponent of Measure M. It also has the support of L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti and all of the L.A. County Supervisors. Also in favor are some environmental groups, bike riders and business groups. Developers, organized labor, engineering firms who would get jobs and business from the projects are contributing to the campaign to pass Measure M.

Supporters say that Measure M would:

  • Give the LA region a world-class interconnected transportation system for the 21st Century
  • Reduce time spent in traffic congestion by 15%.
  • Keep up with the 2.3 million more people expected in the future
  • Keep public transportation affordable for students, seniors and disabled.
  • Increase public safety by retrofitting bridges for earthquakes
  • Create more than 450,000 new jobs

They also say:

  • Measure M was crafted with input from 88 cities and thousands of citizens at public meetings.
  • It contains the toughest accountability measures and oversight.
  • All funds will go to LA County’s 88 cities and LA County. Not to Sacramento.

Who is opposing Measure M and why?

Opponents include the Bus Riders Union, a group of cities including Carson, Torrance, Rancho Palos Verdes, Signal Hill, Commerce, Norwalk and El Segundo. Taxpayers Organizations are also opposed because they are against new taxes.

Opponents say:

  • Many cities would not get their fair share of improvements
  • It will take decades for the improvements to be finished and benefit these cities.
  • The MTA favors wealthy communities but postpones projects that serve the working class and poor who need the transit most.
  • Many projects will go over budget and the MTA lacks accountability and transparency in its spending
  • It’s the third Metro tax that has no expiration date. It is forever.

What does a “yes” or “no” vote mean?

A "yes" vote says you are in favor of a ½ cent increase in the L.A. County sales tax to fund a major multi-faceted transportation plan over 40 years.

A “no” vote means you are against an increase in the sales tax.

NOTE: This measure needs 2/3’s voter approval to pass.

We are dedicated to providing you with articles like this one. Show your support with a tax-deductible contribution to KCET. After all, public media is meant for the public. It belongs to all of us.

Keep Reading