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Measure M: Angelenos vote to tax themselves for better public transit

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New rail lines, better roads, bike-share expansion

Riders board the Red Line

A large majority of Los Angeles voters approved a permanent sales tax increase to fund a major expansion of the county’s public transit system.

Measure M required two-thirds of voters to approve it, and handily achieved this goal, with almost 70 percent voting yes.

By adding a countywide half-cent increase to the sales tax—which will increase to one-cent when the existing Measure R tax expires in 2039—Measure M will bring in $860 million annually for decades. This money will fund transportation projects which will dramatically transform the region, including a rail line to LAX, a subway under the Sepulveda Pass, and a Purple Line extension to Westwood.

Additionally, Measure M will pay for much-needed sidewalk improvements, pothole repairs, cycling infrastructure, bike share expansion, and a network of greenways.

To envision how much of a change that Angelenos will see on their streets, Investing in Place notes that up to 8 percent of Measure M’s funds will go towards walking and biking investments, compared to the 1 percent allocated to walking and biking in LA’s current transportation spending.

Although Measure M had a large coalition of support, South Bay leaders opposed it because it did not bring enough investment to their region.

Over the last few weeks, Mayor Eric Garcetti campaigned heavily for the measure, and positioned its passage as key to the city’s future. As he told the Los Angeles Times last night: “There is nothing to be depressed about in Los Angeles when we wake up tomorrow.”