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$17B Transit Bill Would Extend Sales Tax Hike Through 2069

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A proposed $17 billion transportation funding bill could bring in some much-needed cash to the city's coffers to finance rail, solar and other projects.

But as KNX 1070's Pete Demetriou reports, the strings attached to those funds include a major extension of an already-unpopular sales tax increase.


The "America Fast Forward" plan introduced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa could bring as much as $350 million in grants over two years and potentially up to $3.5 billion for projects like the so-called "Subway to the Sea" or Gold Line extensions to the San Gabriel Valley.

A 10-to-3 vote by the Metro Board of Directors on Thursday finalized plans to ask Los Angeles County voters to extend the Measure R half-cent sales tax they approved in 2009 beyond its 2039 expiration date to a 30-year extension until 2069.

The measure faces plenty of skepticism from voters like Jesse Sproul, who believe is unlikely to be viable without being tied to a surge of new project-related jobs.

"How can you ask for a sales tax when people are not getting work?" Sproul said. "You need people to work to generate the revenue to pay those taxes."

Critics argue the measure is still premature since the original tax level set under Prop R still has nearly three decades left to go until the need to discuss any potential extension.

Voters will decide whether to approve the measure in November.

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