Monday, May 1, 2017

April #JustGrowth Workgroup meeting recap: draft Measure M guidelines

At our most recent #JustGrowth work group meeting, we were excited to have over 30 partners attend – representing community-based organizations, elected officials and staff, Councils of Governments (COGs), and Metro Board offices. The key focus of the April #JustGrowth work group meeting was to review and discuss the draft Measure M Master Guidelines.

Investing in Place recently published our analysis of the draft guidelines – where will highlight the current key issues we found:

  • Project Readiness vs. Project Quality
  • Accountability and Effectiveness of Multiyear Subregional Programs
  • Limitation to Capital Projects Stifles Innovative Programs
  • Outdated Objectives for Subregional Highway Programs
  • Funding for Countywide Active Transportation Programs
  • Bus Rapid Transit Program Development
  • Undefined Subregional Equity Programs
  • Potential Transit Service Expansion
  • Paratransit and Student/Senior Discount Guidelines Developed w/o Input
  • Local Return Expands Eligibility for Innovative Uses
  • Local Return Floor Transfers Resources from Low-Income to High-Income Communities

At our April #JustGrowth meeting, it was inspiring to see a cross section of partners in the room discussing these key issues. And, one thing quickly emerged to all in the room: the need for all of us to get on the same page on defining transportation equity in Los Angeles County.

In the meeting we had staff from Councils of Governments (COGs) referring to equity as when policymakers divide public funds based on populations formulas – in contrast to community leaders (including Investing in Place) in the meeting who when they say equity mean allocating the funding based on need. Defining the difference between equality and equity was a key discussion point in the early part of the meeting.

There was general consensus on a key shared issue for all: redefining the definition of safety to address all users and Vision Zero efforts. Currently, the highway program objectives lack a clear focus on safety – particularly for vulnerable road users. It was inspiring to see everyone in the room – this was a key issue that had to be fixed before the guidelines were finalized.

And there were a number of areas that have big question marks for our partners. The multi-year subregional programs are emerging as one of the key issues our partners have questions on. Looking for information on who will be the decision makers, what are the eligibility and performance objectives, and how will projects be prioritized, and what would be the role of Council of Governments (COGs) and subregions, and community input.

After this workgroup meeting, emerging social equity recommendations are the following (we anticipate this list continuing to grow and evolve):

  • Equity Policy – adopting shared definition for LRTP and to be applied in Measure M implementation where feasible
  • Countywide Active Transportation Program (create LRTP definition of Transportation Equity – use to inform and guide this program)
  • Bus Rapid Transit (create LRTP definition of Transportation Equity – use to inform and guide this program)
  • Highway Funds – Safety First – for all roadway users
  • Metro’s Complete Streets Policy applied in subregional programs
  • Local Return Reverse Robin Hood – oppose the floor on local return
  • Clarity of roles and more in multi-year subregional programs (MSP), and eligibility for planning and non-infrastructure funds. And more questions on role of ¬†community engagement in MSPs.

Investing in Place continues to be inspired and hopeful for more community centered planning and investments when we are in rooms such as this that bring so many different stakeholders in the transportation world together – especially when we identify the need to find common ground to achieve Measure M implementation. Every time Los Angeles County partners find ways to connect across perspectives such as from Metro, COGs, elected offices, and community based organizations, we have the opportunity to ensure we are supporting a collective impact from efforts around the region to improve mobility for all – especially our most vulnerable users.

Have comments and ideas on how the draft Measure M guidelines should be changed and amended? Please send them in by May 26th to ThePlan@Metro.Net.

Our materials and research from our April 20th #JustGrowth work group meeting can be found here:

Investing in Place convenes the #JustGrowth work group monthly to discuss and coordinate efforts to improve Los Angeles County transportation options – especially to coordinate the advocacy work we do at Metro. All are welcome to join these meetings.

The next one is May 18th from 2:30 Р4pm at La Plaza (across from Union Station).  RSVP today and join us at our next one.

Want to learn about the Measure M Guidelines from a social equity perspective and share your input?

by Jessica Meaney

What Role Will COGs Play in Measure M Implementation?

by Jessica Meaney