Making L.A. a Transportation Mecca

04/20/2015 09:33 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

This Wednesday there is an important meeting taking place at Union Station.

The meeting, organized by Move LA, is the non-profit transportation group's seventh annual Transportation Conference.

Move LA's mission is to build a broad constituency that advocates for the development of a comprehensive, diverse, robust, clean and financially sound public transportation system for Los Angeles County. Its regular conferences and seminars are important occasions for taking stock of how far we have come in seven years and how much more still needs to be achieved before we can call Los Angeles a public transportation mecca and model for the nation. Still, with five transit lines under construction and the Wilshire Bus Rapid Transit project chugging down a rush hour bus-only lane, there is plenty to celebrate.

In advance of the conference, Move LA's executive director, Denny Zane, is posing two (compound) questions for the region and conference attendees:

First, how robust a sales tax measure should Metro place before voters in 2016? Should it be for 30 years, like Measure R -- which could provide an estimated $46 billion for transportation improvements? Or a 45-year measure that could provide $92 billion or more? Or how about a measure with no sunset -- which would provide a permanent endowment for transportation modernization in L.A. County?

Second, will we continue Measure R's strong commitment to transit expansion? And will we also make room in the budget for expansion of the bus system and for complete streets and bike and pedestrian improvements along L.A.'s grand boulevards? Shouldn't we also be investing in helping to bring clean freight technologies to market?

In sum, Move LA is asking, "How robust an investment plan do we need to not only relieve traffic congestion and keep our economy moving but to also get serious about fighting climate change?"

With Wednesday's conference keynoted by Mayor Eric Garcetti and hundreds of transportation leaders in attendance, the event promises to be a good chance for those unfamiliar with the progress we have made to date to bone up on their L.A. transportation. And for the regulars it will a great occasion to celebrate and strategize about the future.

I hope Metro's new CEO Phil Washington will be there to share in the fun. I sure will.

Yours in transit,