Los Angeles officials hope to convince Congress take the unprecedented step of having the US Treasury to front money for building the area’s planned 30 year transit expansions in 10 years instead. The money would be paid back from a one-half cent sales tax (Measure R), passed by the voters in 2008. That referendum required 35% of the new tax money to be spent on building 12 rail and exclusive busway transit lines.
Measure R was not the first instance of Los Angeles officials committing to spend 35% of a new one-half cent sales tax on new transit lines.
Proposition a: the Start of it All
In 1980, County Supervisor and Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (LACTC) chairman Kenneth Hahn, whose district included low-income south Los Angeles, made a last-minute proposal (Note 1) to place a half-cent sales tax on the ballot to lower bus fares to $0.50. No funding would have been provided for rail.