Friday, February 25, 2011


An LA Metro board motion by LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Pam O'Connor requesting that Metro study how to use renewable energy to power LA’s transit lines won unanimous support from the board on Thursday. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said the goal is to make Metro the transit agency leader in the use of renewable energy, and public speakers pointed out that using renewable energy could save money for Metro.

Move LA had convened several meetings with industry experts about incorporating renewable energy along existing and planned transit corridors over the past several months, and asked Supervisor Ridley-Thomas and Ms. O'Connor to introduce the motion.

Other transit agencies around the world are beginning to use renewable energy, including several cities in the US: Portland, Oregon, has a 70-foot tall array of solar panels at one substation and is putting more solar panels and wind turbines atop posts along rail corridors. The transit authority in Akron, Ohio has installed 432 solar panels, which provide about a quarter of the agency’s energy. The Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District in Oakland has committed to installing solar panels at all facilities, and MARTA in Atlanta was just awarded a $10.8 million federal TIGER grant to construct shade structures containing PV cells over bus stalls.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The hearing held by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congressman John Mica (R-FL) in Los Angeles Wednesday was a historic, bipartisan, bicameral event attended by members of the powerful House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The “30-10” plan dominated the discussion and at the end LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa formally kicked off the “America Fast Forward” campaign to build support for a national version of 30-10 in the federal reauthorization.

Boxer also said during the course of the hearing that the 30-10 model would become the centerpiece of the federal transportation reauthorization bill, which was the subject of the hearing. Action on the bill has stalled for two years because Congress has not been able to come up with a politically palatable way to finance it. At the hearing yesterday there seemed to be unanimous agreement that innovative financing, like 30-10, that mobilizes local voters and local money and that includes bonds backed by private investment as well as other kinds of public-private partnerships were essential.

A low-interest loan and/or loan guarantees from the TIFIA, or Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program, has been a key part of the proposal to fund 30-10 in Los Angeles. Though the TIFIA program is underfunded and oversubscribed it became clear that the committee is seriously thinking about revamping TIFIA to make it possible for the federal government to invest in big infrastructure programs like 30-10.

When LA County Supervisor Don Knabe asked whether the committee might fund the program at a level that would allow Los Angeles to receive $500 million, Senator Boxer replied that she and the committee were thinking about significantly more money.

The committee hearing was a very big win for the Move LA agenda!


Thanks to all – sponsors and attendees – for supporting our second annual We Love LA (County & City!) Valentine’s Day fundraiser celebrating our love for the 30-10 plan to build out the transit system in Los Angeles! We totally had fun and it seemed that you were having fun too!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Come and Meet the 30-10 Coalition That’s So Big That . . .

Thursday night we invite you to come and meet the powerful business-labor-environmental coalition that helped secure passage of the 30-year Measure R sales tax and is building support for the “30-10 plan” to build 12 new rail and bus rapid transit lines in LA in 10 years! Together we are the coalition about which national columnist Harold Meyerson wrote in the LA Times, "Coalitions this broad occasionally are assembled, but it usually takes something like a war with the Nazis to put them together." We are gathering to eat, drink and dance in downtown Los Angeles in honor of our 30-10 champions in Congress and on LA Metro’s board.

Come and talk to us! Sign our 30-10 petition! Have fun with us! Eat, drink and dance with us to Opa Opa, one of LA's premiere salsa bands (if you need convincing check out their videos:! We are honoring Senator Barbara Boxer, Congresswoman Jane Harman, and LA Metro Board Members Richard Katz and Ara Najarian, who is Mayor of Glendale. This is our second annual “We Love LA Valentines Day Celebration,” and it’s this Thursday, February 17, 6-10 p.m. at the Center at Cathedral Plaza, 555 West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.

If you haven’t signed our 30-10 petition already, please sign on at the event! The 30-10 plan would use the 30-year revenue stream from Measure R to secure low-interest loans and long-term bonds from the federal government to frontload the transit construction program with money to build all 12 projects in 10 years – accelerating job creation and economic benefits in the short term and reducing construction costs. (Contracts can be negotiated at lower prices now due to the recession, and the price of construction and materials won't be subjected to as many years of inflation.) We are expanding this coalition nationally to urge Congress to use 30-10 as a model for leveraging local money to create a loan fund for infrastructure investments in transportation projects of regional and national significance.

Join us! Tickets to this annual Move LA fundraiser are $75.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Dramatic Moment For Infrastructure Investment?

People are talking in both Washington DC and in Sacramento about the “30-10 plan” and its potential to become a national model for financing badly needed transportation infrastructure investments that can catalyze jobs and prosperity ­– without exacerbating the federal deficit. Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane was in Washington DC recently to present 30-10 to a national meeting of the Mayors Innovation Project, a learning network of mayors committed to “high road” policy and governance. Denny spoke on a panel with USDOT Deputy Director Roy Kienitz and others about recent innovations in land use planning and transportation finance.

Meantime, longtime Move LA colleague Scott Bernstein from the Center for Neighborhood Technology in Chicago was part of a summit about 30-10 and funding innovations in Sacramento last week. Interested parties are eager to find a way that the state of California can supplement the innovative financing strategies being discussed by the federal and local governments.

The idea of 30-10 and the implications for a national infrastructure finance program is simple: The long-term revenue from the 30-year Measure R sales tax passed by voters in 2008 could secure long-term bonds and a low-cost federal loan, allowing Metro to build 12 rail and bus rapid transit projects in 10 years. Using long-term revenue streams to secure financing is a familiar concept to elected officials. Using it to frontload the Measure R construction program at lower interest rates than can be gotten from private sector lenders would greatly magnify the economic and environmental benefits in the short term. Benefits include job creation and significantly reduced construction costs – because contracts will be negotiated at lower prices due to the recession, and the price of construction and materials won’t be subjected to as many years of inflation.

Denny told the mayors the federal government can get more bang for the buck “as a lender than as a spender” because as money is recouped it can be lent to other communities. All that would be required of regions is for voters to step forward and create a revenue stream through fees, tolls or – like Measure R –local taxes. This is potentially a very powerful tool for infrastructure investment because local voters are much more likely to pass a tax than Congress – local voters trust local governments more than either state or federal governments, especially when it comes to implementing capital projects like 30-10.

Says Denny, “The fact that innovative finance is being discussed at all levels of government suggests that this could be a dramatic moment for infrastructure investment in the nation.”

Industry, Mayors Endorse 30-10 To Mobilize Local Capital

The appeal of the “30-10 plan” as a model for a national infrastructure financing program is heightened given the importance of investing in infrastructure now, during the current recession, to create jobs and prosperity – much like the New Deal did during the Great Depression. Moreover, 30-10 would do so without increasing federal debt, and provide a way to get investors investing again.

The importance of infrastructure investment as a strategy to grow the economy and create jobs was evidenced by the recent release of a joint statement by two unlikely allies, the US Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO – the ultimate business-labor coalition. Responding to President Obama’s call to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure in his State of the Union address, the joint statement stressed the importance of investments in infrastrucure to keep the country competitive in the global economy.

Move LA’s partnership with LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and LA Metro has sparked the interest of other mayors, and Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane – himself a former mayor of Santa Monica – is reaching out to mayors in Southern California and across the U.S. to gather signatures for a national 30-10 petition.

Move LA is also reaching out to industry, most recently to national associations including the American Council of Engineering Companies, the Construction Managers Association of America, and the Urban Land Institute. These national
business groups see 30-10 as a model for accelerating infrastructure investment and are interested in mobilizing their members across the U.S. to promote innovative infrastructure financing mechanisms like 30-10.

“The ’30-10 plan’ is a game-changer,” Denny says. “It’s an innovative financing tool that can mobilize local costituencies and local funding sources in a way that didn’t exist before.”

County Sales Tax Measures Could Capitalize Federal Loan Program

The idea of 30-10 has captured the imagination of local officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, who also have county sales tax measures that could be used to help secure low-interest loans from the federal government. Denny Zane has met with the Riverside County Transportation Commission and San Bernardino county officials who are interested in the possibility of essentially using their sales tax measures to help capitalize a federal loan program that would loan the money back to the counties to frontload their transportation construction programs.

Every dollar used for capitalizing a loan program typically yields $20 to $25 in lending capacity. For example, this capital to loan ratio suggests that the funding needed to capitalize an $8 billion loan – which is what is needed to finance the 30-10 program – would be about $320 million. That’s less than two years worth of the sales tax revenue stream provided for the Measure R transit construction program.

Denny says, “The idea of using local revenue streams to increase the infrastructure financing capabilities of the federal government has so much potential. It is a model for new more collaborative roles for federal and local governments. The local level is where the most potential exists to mobilize money and constituencies, and it is also consistent with Governor Jerry Brown’s ideas about devolving funding authority to local governments.”