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Measure R Latest: Bus Improvements, But Terrible News, Too

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MetroRider LA has got its hands on a list of Measure R-funded bus improvements suggested by Metro; suggestions range from adding Rapid buses on Third Street and Venice Blvd to reconsidering San Fernando Valley to Westwood “X” express service. Meanwhile, in the comments section, Kymberleigh Richards, public and legislative affairs director of Southern California Transit Advocates, leaves a link to her editorial that appeared in Sunday's Daily News. The state is so piss poor they're going after Measure R.

In her editorial, she writes: "Now Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the state Legislature want to undo, in part, that positive step taken by the voters. A "deal" regarding the state budget includes the suspension of the State Transit Assistance (STA) fund, which is where part of the sales taxes collected on gasoline sales are allocated. Unfortunately, this is also the only state funding that is legally allowed to be used for the operation of bus and rail transit.

This budget deal, which apparently has been agreed to in principle by Assembly Speaker Karen Bass and Senate President Pro Tem Darryl Steinberg, will cut $536 million between now and June 2010 from the collective pockets of California's transit agencies. In Los Angeles County, Metro calculates its portion of the lost STA funds at over $136 million between now and June 2009 and $227 million in the 2009-10 fiscal year, or about 15% of the budget to operate Metro's bus and rail lines. Guess what will be tapped to backfill that loss? That's right - the Measure R funds that the voters approved to increase service but will now be used just to maintain the status quo."

Damien Newton over Streetsblog is also following this latest turn of events, and he writes: "If you're a masochist and want a more complete picture of what Sacramento's posturing is costing us, head over to Metro Rider and have yourself a good cry."
· Metro’s post-Measure R bus service additions [MetroRider LA]
· Voters get shorted on transit funding [Daily News]