Yesterday the Metro Policy Advisory Council (PAC) met to kick-off discussions around the Measure M Administrative Procedures and the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) update. The PAC’s role in guiding the LRTP update will include identifying topics of concern, suggesting priorities, providing input on options, as well as promoting public and stakeholder engagement. PAC members includes representatives from environmental non-profits, advocacy organizations, local transit agencies and councils of governments, and are grouped into three categories based on the interests they represent: consumers, transit providers, and jurisdictions. For a complete list of members, visit Metro’s PAC page.
For those of you wondering what exactly is the LRTP, it is essentially a master plan that lays out the rules for how Metro will spend our transportation dollars over the next 40 years. It identifies Metro’s major transit, highway, and active transportation projects and outlines a funding plan for their completion. The LRTP was last updated in 2009, and the passing of Measure M has established a new baseline for Metro, creating an opportunity for the agency to engage in more innovative, comprehensive, and inclusive planning.
The LRTP update will address priorities related to ongoing demographic, economic, fiscal, and — if we are successful — environmental changes. The update process is under the leadership of Metro’s new Planning Director, Therese McMillan, who promises that the process will be different this time than in the past, using a modular approach that will provide stakeholders and the public opportunities to engage in the development of the parts of the LRTP in which they are most invested. McMillan has promised that this new LRTP will address the intersections that transportation makes with many disciplines, housing in particular, by creating invested partnerships between Metro and other organizations. The LRTP update process will be one that puts equity issues at the center and recognizes how it cross-cuts all aspects of transportation funding; as McMillan puts it, there are “opportunity gaps” in LA county and “the question has to be: how are these projects and investments helping to close the equity opportunity gap?”
PAC members were particular inspired by remarks from LADOT’ general manager, Seleta Reynolds, who underscored the importance of Metro pursuing an interdisciplinary approach and seeking out non-traditional partnerships. Reynolds, who has significant experience leading livable streets projects, mentioned that often times we lead with transportation, because that’s where the money is, but that gives communities “false choices.” In particular, communities that have been asking for “A-Y” improvements for years and then are given options for “Z,” transportation. We need to approach this LRTP update process as an opportunity to break outside the transportation silo and do what is needed to support equitable transit-oriented communities.
Next Steps for the PAC include the development of a work plan, outlining goals and desired outcomes for the Measure M Administrative Guidelines and the LRTP update, and the formation of task groups that will focus in on specific areas of the Guidelines and modules of the LRTP.
We are still advocating for a plan that is explicitly in line with the state of California’s climate goals with investments that will prepare us for climate change impacts, like increased urban heat island effects. We want a plan that weans our transportation sector off of fossil fuels, reduces our greenhouse gas emissions, and supports our vision for equitable, multimodal, investments in communities. As a reminder, PAC meetings are open to the public and the next meeting will take place on the 2nd Tuesday in September, 1:30-3:30pm at SCAG. There is no PAC meeting scheduled for August, and going forward, they will be on the 1st Tuesday of each month starting in October. We will continue to keep you all posted with new developments and opportunities for engagement and public testimony.