California assemblyman Mike Feuer, who represents parts of the Westside, was the man who got Measure R on the ballot in 2008--that's the initiative that raised sales taxes to create a dedicated budget for big ticket transit projects like the Expo Line and the Westside subway. Today, Feuer introduced legislation in Sacramento for a pseudo-Measure R sequel that would allow voters to extend the length of the tax increase, which currently lasts until 2039. The new deadline has yet to be determined. The move "would enable Metro to bond against future Measure R proceeds and build those transit projects much sooner than originally contemplated, without relying on federal or state funding." It's sort of an America Fast Forward (née 30/10), without the Uncle Sam. Whether voters sign off could depend on whether the Expo Line and Orange Line extension actually open this year, as promised.
Feuer also introduced legislation that would speed up urban rail infrastructure projects by expediting judicial review in challenges brought under the California Environmental Quality Act--it adds those projects to the group covered by the law passed last year that helps out big projects like the proposed Downtown football stadium. Feuer's Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 still guarantees the public an opportunity to review and comment on a project, but would get court challenges heard sooner. This bill would be especially helpful--the biggest LA transit projects on the horizon (the LAX-serving Crenshaw Line, the Gold Line extension, and the Westside subway) all have pending lawsuits against them or are facing threatened litigation.
· Mike Feuer [Official Site]