Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis has succeeded Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti as the chair of the Los Angles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
Solis—whose term will run through June 30, 2022—said her priorities as chair will be to support Metro’s transit riders, ensuring the transit system recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable way and reimagining Metro’s highway investments.
“As congestion worsens and more people gain access to cars, bus riders—particularly among Black and Latinx communities—suffer the most,’’ Solis said. “Bus riders—who have median annual incomes of less than $18,000—comprise some of the most disadvantaged communities in L.A. County that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“Transit riders need better service, and they need it now. To provide better service, Metro needs to invest more funding in operations, homelessness outreach and alternatives to law enforcement.’’
Solis noted that Metro bus ridership has declined year over year, and the region has seen a surge in vehicle ownership. She called for building more affordable housing near transit lines to prevent low-income and vulnerable communities from being displaced.
The Metro Board of Directors, which Solis was already a part of, voted on June 24 to update its Joint Development Policy to prioritize building 100-percent income-restricted housing on unused Metro-owned land. As of January, Metro’s Joint Development team had completed 2,200 units of housing, 34 percent of which are considered affordable, according to Metro’s website. It defines “affordable housing’’ as units for people who earn 60 percent or less than the L.A. County Area Median Income.
“With a housing crisis that makes it challenging to live in Los Angeles County, transportation serves as a critical tool in helping residents get around. And as housing becomes more expensive, commutes are becoming longer and more arduous. Metro must use the land that it will acquire as part of upcoming capital projects to quickly build more affordable housing to help prevent future displacement and to better serve our most vulnerable transit riders,’’ Solis said.