Los Angeles voters will have to make an important decision on Tuesday when voting for Measure M, which if passed, will increase sales tax by one half cent to fund major expansions to the L.A. transit system.
Mayor Eric Garcetti, who is in full support of the measure, visited CSUN Thursday in front of a crowd of roughly 50 people to encourage students and community members to vote yes on M.
With almost all of the Associated Students standing behind him, holding signs saying “Yes on Measure M,” Garcetti spoke about improving transit lines, bike lanes, and bus routes.
“M is for more,” Garcetti said. “M is for more money, M is for more rail lines, M is for more bus lines, M is for more fares that are protected for students…”
While the measure will certainly provide more transportation options, critics have been quick to point out that it will also raise taxes for all L.A. residents, for a long time. Ballet proponents themselves have stated that traffic congestion will improve 15 percent, but not until 2057, according to a Los Angeles Time article.
Garcetti also mentioned in his speech that the entire project will cost $120 billion, but will create over 465 thousand jobs, mostly in the manufacturing sector.
After the speech, students shared their thoughts about Measure M, some were in favor of it, while others weren’t entirely convinced.
Samuel Azmon, a mechanical engineering major who currently uses public transit, was not happy about the prospects of a tax increase.
“Tax increase is not good,” Azmon said. “By the time this benefits me, I will already have a car or other means of transit.”
Christopher Lee, a kinesiology major, had less of a problem with the added tax.
“Tax increase for something that benefits the community and will help people is okay with me,” Lee said. “I think it [Measure M] is very necessary to create jobs and reduce traffic.”
While most would agree that better public transit would be a good thing, critics of the measure have voiced concerns about the timeline of the project and want to know when the people of L.A. will actually see the improvements the measure purposes, according to an NBC4 news cast.
Long term projects like this sometimes include what is called a sunset clause which states that if a project hasn’t reached certain targets by a certain time, that the measure can be dissolved.
When asked why Measure M was purposed without a sunset clause, and if he was confident that the project would be completed in a timely manner, Garcetti said that the timeline provided by Measure M was actually the slowest possible timeline and he believed certain rail lines could be completed in half the time.
“As to why it [Measure M] doesn’t sunset, that’s something the voters actually asked for,” Garcetti said. “When we interviewed people before this, they said, ‘this is like schools,’ we don’t want temporary tax for schools then our kid’s to have to decide whether we should have schools. There is a permanent need to fix traffic and transportation.”
*Alejandro Aranda contributed to the reporting of this article