When you look at your ballot on November 6, you will have the option to vote on a measure that promises accelerated transportation projects and decreased traffic congestion throughout Los Angeles County. Measure J asks voters to extend a half-cent sales tax, originally approved in 2008 for 30 years, for an additional 30 years.
The voters of this region have increased their taxes three times, desperate for congestion relief. Four years into the last increase, with a responsible and balanced plan that benefited all 88 cities in the County, MTA is asking for an extension. Proponents suggest that now is the time to get cheaper money and lower construction costs – and most importantly, get people to work on these projects.
However, “accelerated” does not necessarily mean “completed.” The projects require significant funding from outside sources, especially the federal government already struggling with its own budget. Taxpayer protections guaranteed in 2008 have been removed and the debt we create now will have to be paid by future generations.
Los Angeles County needs honest, rational traffic relief – that is something we can all agree on. The question is how we get there in a responsible way.