LA Metro’s $400B, 30-Year Transportation Blueprint Approved

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors has approved an updated 2020 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).

The $400 billion, 30-year plan outlines the funding, planning, building, managing and maintaining of Metro’s transportation system, and how Metro partners with other entities to deliver projects and programs.

The plan was completed after nearly two years of public outreach—including 77 community events, 38 public meetings and 20,000 survey responses. It states the region’s desires as four goals: “Better Transit, Less Congestion, Complete Streets and Access to Opportunity.” Metro released a draft in May, followed by a 45-day public review period that ended July 13.

Over the plan’s 30-year period, Metro will invest more than $80 billion to improve, expand and upgrade LA County’s extensive public transit system. This includes adding more than 100 miles of rail. Construction is already under way on several rail corridors, such as the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project light rail line. Slated to open next year, it will extend from the E Line (Expo) to the C Line (Green), with a station at the Los Angeles International Airport. (See map below.)

The LRTP also includes more than $200 billion for operations and state of good repair, as well as $38 billion in funding that returns to local transit agencies to maintain the local transportation system.

According to Metro, the LRTP financial forecast includes revenue from local sales tax, state sources, federal programs and other sources. Approximately 74% of funding is controlled by Metro, either from federal and state programs or through locally generated revenues. LA County has passed four separate half-cent transportation sales taxes over the past 40 years: Proposition A (1980), Proposition C (1990), Measure R (2008) and Measure M (2016).

Because the LRTP is a financially constrained plan, Metro noted, the committed investments are programmed to match anticipated funding. The forecast is based on estimated sales-tax growth and existing project cost estimates. Future changes, including those due to the COVID-19 pandemic, “may present challenges that must be balanced within the constrained plan and updated or amended as appropriate.”

(As of June 2020, Metro estimated a $1.8 billion gap in funding from combined decreases in sales tax, fare revenue and toll revenue, as well as increased operating expenses. But it is also anticipating more than $1 billion in financial support from the federal government through the CARES Act for LA County.)

Metro’s forthcoming Short Range Transportation Plan (SRTP), a 10-year action plan, will address the investments, policies and system improvements needed to advance the 2020 LRTP vision.

“The LRTP provides the funding plan and bold policies needed to move us forward to a future LA County that is environmentally and economically sustainable, while continuing to reduce congestion,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. “We are still learning from the current pandemic, but the need for specific long-term and near-term action plans has never been more apparent.”

To view the full plan, click here.

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