The following is an edited press release from the Office of Assemblymember Mike Feuer.
Monday, the Assembly Transportation Committee approved AB 1446 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles) on a bipartisan vote. The measure would, with voter approval, seek to fund Los Angeles County rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects more quickly.
Specifically, the bill would authorize the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to ask County voters to extend the term of the Measure R sales tax authorization indefinitely. This extension would enable Metro to bond against future Measure R revenue and build transportation projects much sooner than originally contemplated, relying only on local funds.
“We need to get these transportation projects underway as soon as possible,” said Feuer. “I'm delighted that two Assembly committees overwhelmingly passed AB 1446, which will empower L.A. County voters to jumpstart 160,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region.”
In Los Angeles County, 336,000 jobs have been lost since 2007, and 582,900 people were unemployed as of October 2011. The construction industry has been hit especially hard; over 53,300 construction jobs have been lost in recent years.
“The hundreds of thousands of working men and women represented by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor strongly supports AB 1446," said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. "Tens of thousands of construction workers will be able to get back to work sooner and help get our regional economy back on track sooner by allowing L.A. County voters to have their say."
"We need to do what we can now to accelerate the Measure R projects and build these infrastructure projects sooner rather than later,” she added.
The measure will next be heard by the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
“With voter approval AB 1446 will enhance regional infrastructure to accommodate Los Angeles’ growing population, and ultimately create well-paying reliable jobs for Californians,” said Marc Burgat, vice president of governmental affairs for the California Chamber of Commerce.