Measure J, sponsored by the Metropolitan Transit Authority, seeks to extend the half-cent sales tax (retail use and transaction tax) voters approved in 2008 (as Measure R) for another 30 years. Proceeds will be used to improve freeway traffic flow, accelerate completion of the county’s comprehensive transportation system, fix pot holes, repair streets and synchronize traffic signals in local communities.
Supporters of Measure J say it will create thousands of jobs in the county over the next decade by speeding up local highway and transit projects. During the 30-year period 410,000 jobs are expected to be created and 260,00 will be accelerated.
The measure would also speed up the completion of light rail, subway and airport connection projects so that they are finished in 13 rather than 27 years.
Proponents also say the measure will facilitate improved traffic flow on 12 local freeways, including the 10, 110, 405 and 605.
They say there is also a provision in the measure to speed up the earthquake repair of aging bridges, tunnels and overpasses in the county, and some of the funds are expected to be used to keep bus fares low for seniors, students and the disabled.
Opponents to Measure J, call it a deeply flawed, inequitable and ill-timed measure that is classic bait-and-switch. They also argue that the measure relies on funding that is not guaranteed for some projects–for example the Green Line to LAX which can not be built without outside funding. They also say there is no money to connect rail to the Long Beach, Ontario, Bob Hope or Palmdale airports, as Measure J promises.
Opponents also argue that no new jobs will be created by the measure that wouldn’t have been created under Measure R.
The measure is inequitable say opponents because some county residents pay taxes until 2069 that will never be invested in their communities.
Locally, the Bus Riders Union calls Measure J a blank check for Metro to continue its war on L.A. bus systems and bus riders. The Bus Riders Union charges that only 20 percent of Measure R revenue is set aside for the operation of current bus service, while up to 70 percent is available for expansion and construction of rail with no sustainable plan for current or future rail.
Damien Goodmon, chair of the Crenshaw Subway Coalition and Fix Expo Campaign, is concerned that if Measure J passes, Metro says it still would not have enough money to add a station in Leimert Park Village or take the LAX line underground for the 11 blocks it travels through one of the Black community’s busiest regions.