At the end of June the Metropolitan Transit Authority board of directors voted in favor of moving forward with a ballot initiative that would extend Measure R, a half-cent sales tax that funds Los Angeles transit projects, for another 30 years.
Measure R was approved by voters in 2008 and is currently set to expire in 2039. Supporters of Measure R say extending the tax now would allow the county to speed up completion of projects and take advantage of low construction costs.
The measure was put before the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, but the Supervisors decided to postpone a vote on whether it would go on the November ballot.
All five of the Supervisors sit on Metro’s 13-person board. Three of them-- Don Knabe, Mark Ridley-Thomas and Michael Antonovich (Altadena’s representative)-- cast the only dissenting votes on the measure in June.
Knabe said the move was premature and counter to Metro's conservative fiscal policies. Ridley-Thomas said he thought voter approval was unlikely.
Gold Line officials have said that Measure R does not provide funding for the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont and, because of this, it goes against the original terms of the measure and is illegal. Rep. Judy Chu, D-El Monte, who is running for Congress in Altadena’s new district, also spoke out against the transit board’s decision.
The Supervisors must act on the measure by August 7 to avoid a lawsuit, according to L.A. County’s lead attorney. A public hearing on the matter is scheduled before the Metro board on August 6.
A state bill must be passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and the measure must first be approved by the Supervisors before it can be placed on the November ballot.
A two-thirds majority vote in November would be required to approve the extension.