Monday, March 26, 2012

MOVE LA OP-ED IN HUFFPO: Congress Fiddles While SoCal Gets Things Done

Huffington Post posts a blog by Denny Zane and Gloria Ohland on the remarkable bonhomie and bipartisanship of the Southern California Association of Government's Regional Council, and how it stands in marked contrast to the bickering in Congress over the federal transportation bill. Jobs are at stake!

Read it here.


Denny Zane and Gloria Ohland write about the remarkable regional transportation plan that is about to be adopted by the Regional Council of the Southern California Association of Governments in an op ed that appeared in the Pasadena Star News, San Gabriel Valley Tribune and Whittier Daily News this weekend.

Read it here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


The Southern California Association of Governments policy committees voted 58-3 today to recommend that the Regional Council approve the RTP/SCS on April 4. Then the three committees voted 47-0 to adopt a motion to identify resources for enhancing Metrolink, a clean goods movement system, and the Compass Blueprint Demonstration Project grant program — as well as to expand the health and equity performance metrics used by SCAG, and to broaden SCAG’s role in providing technical assistance for active transportation planning efforts through a Strategic Funding Plan, Regional Complete Streets Plan and a Regional Safe Routes to School Plan.

It should be noted that the bonhomie and bipartisanship of this planning effort at SCAG stands in marked contrast to the political divisiveness of Congress. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chair John Mica (R-FL) today announced his intention to extend the federal surface transportation reauthorization for the ninth time since 2009 because Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on a way forward.

Adoption of the RTP/SCS is scheduled for April 4. These are some of the things that would be achieved by 2035:

•total housing within half mile of transit = 82 percent
•total jobs within half mile of transit = 87 percent
•Saves 410 square miles of open space from development
•Increases the number of people who live near transit by 60 percent

•bike and pedestrian funding more than triples, from $1.8 B to $6.7 B
•Reduction in congestion, despite population growth of 4 million
•24 percent reduction in traffic delay per capita
•Impressive expansion of transit, including Measure R in LA County and a doubling of Metrolink ridership in the region

•$3,000 annual savings per household due to lower auto, fuel, water and energy costs

•Jobs due to transportation investments: 4.2 million by 2035

•24 percent reduction in pollution-caused respiratory problems, resulting in $1.5 B/year less in health care costs
•Achieves 2020 GHG reduction target of 8 percent and exceeds 2035 target of 16 percent by 3 percent


Earlier today, the Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, John Mica (R-FL), shared his intention to extend America’s federal surface transportation programs for another 90 days. [See link to Mica bio in CQ below.] If adopted by Congress, this would be the ninth extension of SAFETEA-LU, which officially expired in September of 2009. The current extension of SAFETEA-LU will expire on March 31, 2012, forcing Congressional leaders to consider yet another extension of the long stalled surface transportation bill. Last night, news media reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was not “inclined” to assist the Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives in passing a short-term extension for surface transportation programs. Such a move by the Senate Majority Leader may increase pressure on the House to consider voting for MAP-21, the Senate transportation bill that was authored in large part by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK) and adopted overwhelmingly last week by a vote of 74 to 22.

Mica bio, "For Mica a Bumpy Road in Driver's Seat," in CQ is here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

U.S. Senate Overwhelmingly Adopts Surface Transportation Bill – America Fast Forward Included In Legislation

The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly (74 to 22) today to adopt its surface transportation bill (S. 1813), also known as MAP-21. The bill, championed by U.S. Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and James Inhofe (R-OK), represents an unusual triumph of bipartisan legislating in the current Congress. The bill will fund surface transportation projects through 2013 at a cost of $109 billion. The bill includes an innovative finance section, entitled America Fast Forward (title II of Division A of the bill) that was the product of LA Metro’s Board-approved plan to accelerate the Measure R funded highway and transit program. As recently as last week, Senator Boxer praised her strong working relationship with Los Angeles County transportation leaders in crafting her bill, namely the America Fast Forward title of S. 1813.

The U.S. House of Representatives is in recess this week. The House leadership expects to work on their surface transportation bill (HR 7) in a yet-to-be determined form when they come back to Washington next week. Metro's federal team is actively engaging with the Los Angeles County House Delegation to ensure that they and their aides have all the information they need on the Board-approved legislative program should the House bring HR 7 to a vote next week. The current surface transportation bill extension expires on March 31, 2012.

WOW! US Senate Just Passes T Bill 74-22!

Wow! The US Senate just voted 74-22 to approve a bipartisan two-year transportation bill providing $109 billion for investments in transportation infrastructure. Congratulations and thank you Senator Boxer and Senator Inhofe for your responsible and bipartisan and leadership.

More to come . . .