Earlier this month, we convened over 70 partners to discuss lessons learned from SB 535 (2012 de Leon), a bill on cap-and-trade investments that prioritizes housing and transportation funds for disadvantaged communities based on a data-driven framework (CalEnviroscreen). The purpose of our meeting was to apply successes and challenges to our continued work on framework recommendations for Metro’s potential 2016 Los Angeles County Transportation Sales tax ballot measure. (See the letter Investing in Place and over 50 organizations submitted to Metro leadership on September 1st with initial recommendations.)
Keynote speaker Vien Truong from #GreenforAll inspired the group with her experience and lessons learned from SB 535, and offered advice on how leaders could use this framework to inform conversations of transportation investment decisions in Los Angeles County. Vien described the efforts of SB 535, as guided by “collaborative movement and partnerships,” with an inside policy game that was grounded by a community-led effort.
Prioritizing investment areas based on data and need is a model that more and more public entities are employing – and research shows this data-driven framework has a multiplying impact on regional benefits. Vien noted that when policy is developed with community leaders and elected officials, and when those actors are engaged in collaborative partnerships to pursue shared outcomes, then support and successful policy implementation are more likely.
As Investing in Place works with partners to fine-tune recommendations to Metro, urge our regional transportation agency to pursue the following:
- Develop a data-driven framework that prioritizes funding for projects that advance social equity, enhance public health, and achieve environmental goals.
- Create prioritization investment areas based on income levels and race/ethnicity.
- Better serve transit-dependent populations by maintaining low fares, ensuring funding for transit operations, increasing frequency of service on high-ridership lines, enacting policies that enable development without displacement, and supporting integrated housing and transportation initiatives.
- Increasing funding for Active Transportation and other travel options for low-income and carless households.
- Support Meaningful and Authentic Community Participation during this process.
The Metro board is expected to review a draft framework for the 2016 Transportation Sales Tax ballot measure at its October committee meetings with the Board set to take action during November or December. Metro staff will be continuing efforts with the Councils of Governments (COGs) this fall to further refine their mobility matrices project lists and priorities. All of these considerations are working toward the development of a draft expenditure plan for the potential sales tax measure in Spring 2016.
Interested in what Councils of Governments, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and other community-based organizations are recommending for Metro’s sales tax framework? See many of the letters here.
This meeting was made possible by TransitCenter. We are grateful for their financial support and for all the partners who attended this meeting and provided their input and ideas.