This blog covers public transit, queer life and politics in Southern California, and anything else I feel like commenting on at the time.
However, whenever a Santa Monica Blvd. alignment is approved, built either in conjunction with the Purple Line or by itself. It is unlikely without a new source of money that even the Purple Line by itself will ever get built, no matter how desperately it is needed.
This truth will set you free, but first it will tick you off. I will state the following about taxes which many of you don't want to hear, but need to hear:
While I enthusiastically support the 1/2 cent sales tax increase to pay for transportation projects, I know several people who do too in theory, but have great skepticism that the money will all go to transit. Transportation money is an inviting target to raid in a budget crisis because the anti-tax and social service lobbies are much more vocal. The Governator is once again proposing raiding transit funds again in the current state budget negotiations. Many people understandably just don't believe that the politicians won't be able to resist raiding any new transportation money for other non-transportation related purposes.
With gasoline prices ever upward and realistically over $5/gallon over the summer, and with ever-worsening congestion, a tipping point has been reached where the masses really want more transit capital projects like new rail lines built. The real question now is that is whether their desire so focused and determined that they are actually willing to pay for them. I believe they will if they believe that the money will actually go to transportation. Is it really possible to design this upcoming sales tax increase ballot measure so that the money CANNOT be raided, period? Convincing people that is really the case may be the real challenge.
The sales-tax increase measure will meet with several responses:
1) Yes, we desperately need these projects and we need to pay for them.2) I'd like to support this, but I just don't believe all the money will actually go to transportation.3) I'd like to support this, but I'm so pinched economically I just cannot afford it no matter how much I know this money is needed.4) I support more transit funding, but the government should just better use the money it already has and cut government "waste".5) No new taxes, period. I don't care what gets cut or destroyed in the future. Nor, do I care if Southern California remains economically or environmentally sustainable because I will be dead eventually anyway or just move somewhere else.6) All transportation money should go to preserve my divine right to drive and park an automobile anytime, anyplace, anywhere, and I want all transportation money spent on roads and screw the common good.
Getting to two-thirds voter approval will be tough, especially in a difficult economic climate. To get to yes, in adding to the 1s, we need to hope that enough 2s vote for it anyway by convincing them the money cannot be raided. 5s and 6s won't vote for it under any circumstances. 3s are possible, but they are most likely to switch sides to "no" in the privacy of the voting booth. A number of 4s are still possibles too. The Governator is finding out that this myth of all this "waste" is coming up against reality. One person's "waste" is another person's "lifeline" and "essential funding".
The 1s will vote for this. The 5s and 6s will not. Some 3s and 4s will still vote for it, but the issues involved go beyond just transportation funding into larger issues about personal microeconomics snd government funding and may be solely beyond persuading on this issue.
I don't think we can get to a two-thirds vote unless enough of the 2s are convinced that the money will not be raided for other purposes. Let's hope they design this ballot measure right. Even then, a two-thirds vote is a very high hurdle.
High-speed Rail will also be on the ballot this fall as a bond issue. We desperately need that too. But that's for another blog post.
Hey Dan,Like your blog, but I think the whole Reaganomics doesn't work is not the best argument there is for this sort of transporation project. Los Angeles was built because we sold our soul to Southern Pacific. LA has a fascinating history, I definitely recommend Robert Fogelsohn's "The Fragmented Metropolis," its considered the gold standard in Political Science for development in So Cal. Anyways, projects like these are more like investments into infrastructure that will bring about more economic growth and save us money in the long run.
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