Government Issues

L.A. Metro report shares keys to success at ballot box

Posted on May 30, 2018

Under Measure M, 40 major road, transit, and walking/biking projects are slated to be built in the next 40 years.
LA Metro
Under Measure M, 40 major road, transit, and walking/biking projects are slated to be built in the next 40 years.LA Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) released a new report, titled “How to Pass a Mega Transportation Measure,” to provide lessons learned to transportation agencies and other stakeholders considering pursuit of a ballot measure to increase local transportation funding.

In Nov. 2016, Metro’s Measure M was approved by 71.15% of Los Angeles County voters, far exceeding the two-thirds approval needed. Measure M included a new half-cent sales tax and eliminated a sunset provision for the Measure R sales tax approved in 2008, creating a perpetual source of funding for mobility improvements across Los Angeles County.

Under Measure M, 40 major road, transit, and walking/biking projects are slated to be built in the next 40 years. Work is underway to accelerate many of those projects, so they are completed by the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics to be held in the L.A. region. Measure M also includes funds that are returned directly to local cities for their own transportation projects and annual funding for State of Good Repair projects to ensure infrastructure is maintained.

“Public transportation is a powerful way to create prosperity, connect with the people and places we love, and build a more sustainable future,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Measure M is a blueprint for how communities everywhere can shape the future with lasting investments in improved infrastructure, better mobility, and good jobs.”

The new lessons learned report documents the three-year process of developing and building support for Measure M. It attributes the success of Measure M to many efforts, but emphasizes some major factors:

  • Creating a bottom up process that engaged all cities in L.A. County.
  • Conducting frequent polling and surveying of the public to determine their needs and shape messaging.
  • Using performance-based metrics to prioritize projects.
  • Implementing a robust education program with powerful stories about the need to improve transportation.

“It’s important to share our experience with the industry — what went right, what would we do differently — to help agencies succeed with their own ballot measures,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “Anything others can learn from our success is good for the nation as we collectively work toward leaving an infrastructure inheritance for our kids and grandkids.”

The report was researched and written by Joel Epstein, a local writer and consultant. He interviewed more than 70 Metro employees, Board Members, stakeholders, and advocates as part of the research for the report.

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