- The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority has prepared a 2018 to 2019 budget that includes spending of $6.6 billion, Curbed Los Angeles reported. The budget, which the Metro Board authorized at a meeting on May 24, is the largest in the agency's history and will take effect on July 1.
- Construction projects will eat up about $2 billion of the new Metro budget, with $1.74 billion going toward rail and transit initiatives and $250 million going toward highway projects. The single largest spend will be $980 million for the $2.5 billion second phase of the Purple Line Westside Subway extension. Another $1.8 billion will be spent on operations and maintenance; $493 million for "state of good repair" improvements; almost $1.5 billion to subsidize local transportation agencies and regional rail; $167 million on planning and studying future projects and $417 million to pay off existing Metro debt.
- Approximately 50% of Metro's budget revenue, $3.4 billion, will come from Measures A, C, R and M, voter-approved sales tax increases that direct about two cents for every dollar spent in Los Angeles County to the authority. More than $600 million will come from state programs like the new 12-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase that was part of the massive SB1 spending bill passed last year; another $440 million will come from operations; $1 billion from grants and $1 billion from bond acts, the federal government and left-over revenue from last year's budget.
The half-cent Measure M was the most recent sales tax authorized by Los Angeles County voters, and the 2016 initiative is expected to generate about $860 million a year for transit projects. If some California residents have their way, however, the Metro might have to find an extra $600 million before year end to make up the funding gap left by a possible repeal of the new gas tax that was part of last year's Road Accountability and Repair Act.
Despite the billions of extra annual revenue the new gas tax is expected to generate, a poll sponsored by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Times indicated that 51% of state voters are in favor of a repeal. Only 38% were in favor of keeping the tax.
The push for a repeal goes against the results of previous polls that indicated that those in the U.S. don't mind paying extra at the pump if the money is earmarked for improvements on the roads they use.