Los Angeles International Airport - Photo by LAANE

This afternoon, Green L.A. Transportation Work Group folks received an early look at a Coalition for Clean Air study on airport pollution. The presenter/researcher is Colleen Callahan, and the study isn’t quite finished, and not available on-line, but will be available some time in the near future at the CCA website.

Here’s the blurb that was sent out announcing the meeting:

While Colleen’s report is larger in scope, for this presentation she will focus on passenger ground access transportation at Los Angeles International. LAX is the most polluting airport in the region and the vehicles traveling to and from LAX are most significant source of pollution related to the airport’s operations. Colleen finds that LAX’s ground access pricing system is such that the most polluting and least efficient transportation mode– the kiss-and-ride option that results in four trips versus two or less– is incentvized while less polluting modes– drive and park, taxi, shuttle, FlyAway, and transit– are disincentized. For example, LAX collects $2.50 every time a cab enters the airport, but there is no charge for private vehicles to enter the LAX circle and the immediate roads into LAX. Colleen’s main recommendation is to increase the viability of alternative ground access options by: 1) decreasing the cost of other modes relative to the kiss-and-ride mode and 2) increasing transit options through collaborative, regional approaches.

Two interesting things I learned that I didn’t know:

1) The “non-commercial general aviation airports” (not LAX, but the other ones – frequented by private jets – including Van Nuys) are a significant source of lead, which is still used in small airplane fuels. Scary that we still haven’t learned the lesson of lesson of just how toxic lead is. We, in the city of L.A. should ban it from our airport fuel use.

2) For a lot of air pollution impacting airport communities, car traffic is more responsible than airplanes are. So, to get a handle on airport pollution, we need to look at things like TDM (Transportation Demand Management.) We need to look at getting more people to the airport via transit, taxis, and bicycles… and fewer “kiss-and-ride” drop offs.

Looking forward to reading the finished study and to making progress on solving these important issues.

updated 13 April 2010 9pm

At the August meeting of the Green L.A. Transportation Work Group, Move L.A.‘s Denny Zane presented briefly about a proposed 2010 ballot measure that would make it easier for voters to approve transit funding. Move L.A. is part of a fledgling effort so-far called the Coalition to Protect Local Vital Services. It’s a statewide effort to initiate and pass a ballot proposition that would lower the percentage of votes needed to pass local funding initiatives.

Since the passage of California’s Proposition 13 in 1978,  a two-thirds supermajority is required to pass ballot propositions that raise taxes. This 2/3rds requirement applies to statewide and local ballot measures. For example, Measure R, last year’s county-wide sales tax for transportation funding, barely passed with  67.9% of the vote. The 2/3rds requirement has caused govermental funding for… well… vital local services to dwindle over time. It impacts not only transportation funding, but also education, healthcare, and many many other governmental programs. It also contributes to volatility in govermental budgets which swing from surpluses in boom years to deficits today. 

In 2000, California voters passed Prop 39 which lowered the threshold to 55% for passage of school bond funding. The new proposed not-yet-named not-yet-finalized ballot proposition, targeted for fall 2010, would lower the threshold to 55% for other local ballot funding measures. This would include transportation initiatives (like Measure R), as well as school operations and maintenance, libraries, stormwater, police, parks, etc.

So far, the Coalition to Protect Vital Local Services has been energized  by polling that shows that Californians are frustrated with the difficulties of funding services via a gridlocked dysfunctional state government, hence there is support for allowing local municipalities to more easily raise their own funds. The polling, conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin and Associates,  is summarized in this memo and this presentation. If you’re interested in getting involved in this 55% initiative, contact Move L.A. locally. GLATWG will try to make more information available as we find it.

There’s also a broader multi-year effort to organize and mobilize to undo even more provisions of Prop 13. It’s part of a statewide effort called the California Alliance, which includes the Los Angeles organization SCOPE, whose organizer I heard about it from. I expect to share more on this campaign, too, as it emerges.

At our August Green L.A. Transportation Work Group meeting, Executive Director of Move L.A. Denny Zane made a presentation about the proposed National Infrastructure Development Bank. This is a proposed federal bank that would be able to loan money to agencies at a reduced rate – allowing local dollars to be spent sooner and to go further. This could help transportation projects (locally especially those funded by Measure R) and ultimately could also be open to fronting other infrastructure dollars for things like stormwater, libraries, parks, etc.

Right now it’s a federal bill HR2521 the “National Infrastructure Development Bank Act of 2009” introduced by Congressmember Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut. Reportedly soon to be introduced in the U.S. Senate, too. Locally, Metro endorsed it on June 23rd (It’s item 63 on page 20 here, but more helpful is their 3-page analysis of HR2521,) but, at least as of a few weeks ago, no Southern California legislators had signed on.

Denny circulated copies of this 5-page summary of the NIDBA bill. Move L.A. is requesting organizations to sign on to the letter below which will be copied to California’s senators and L.A.’s representatives. If your organization is intersted in signing on to this letter, please email dennyzane [at] movela.org

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro
3rd Congressional District
New Haven, Connecticut

Dear Congresswoman DeLauro:

The undersigned organizations deeply appreciate the strong leadership you have displayed in the development and introduction of HR 2521, a bill that would create a National Infrastructure Development Bank.  We endorse this bill and will encourage our members and our communities to support the bill as well. 

HR 2521 is landmark legislation that will play, we believe, a very significant role in our nation’s effort, and in the efforts of countless communities, to address significant deficiencies and remedy long term deterioration and decay in our nation’s transportation and other vital systems.
HR 2521 would fund and create a bank that would direct public and private dollars toward infrastructure projects of national or regional significance.  A similar proposal was included in the Obama Administration’s Budget released earlier this year.  Like the proposal in the Obama Budget, HR 2521 would capitalize the bank at a rate of $5 billion for five years and would provide the Bank with $250 billion in total subscribed capital and $625 billion in total loan making capability. 

We believe that a properly capitalized infrastructure bank as proposed in HR 2521 could be used to accelerate major transportation projects in Los Angeles County, and other communities, by providing loans secured by Measure R funds, a recently approved ½ cent sales tax increase for transportation projects approved by more than 2/3 of Los Angeles County voters last November.  Measure R will provide a revenue stream of up to $40 billion over 30 years, nearly 70% of which will be used for public transit infrastructure and operations.

NIDB  loans secured by Measure R funds could enable LA County to accelerate the development of many voter approved transit and highway projects, thereby reducing their development costs, creating good new jobs quickly, and jump starting economic recovery while energizing our efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

The undersigned, therefore, endorse:

• H.R. 2521,  to create a National Infrastructure Development Bank as introduced by Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT)

Further, to enable this program to better fulfill its mission, we urge that:

• NIDB loans be available not only for project-specific applications, but also for multi-project infrastructure programs backed by broad-based revenue streams, e.g., locally approved taxes; and that,

• Congress authorize interest-forgiveness on NIDB loans for projects that significantly advance national economic development or environmental goals, such as zero-GHG-emission transit projects, like electric transit, powered by zero-emission renewable energy resources.

Thank you for your leadership and for your time and attention.


Denny Zane
Executive Director
Move LA  
Senator Barbara Boxer
Senator Diane Feinstein 
Members, Los Angeles County Delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives

What a Future Complete Street might look like for Sixth Street near Alvarado

What a Future Complete Street might look like for Sixth Street near Alvarado

Jen Petersen and Ryan Snyder presented this “Complete Streets Get Traction in the City of Angels” slide show at this week’s Green L.A. Transportation Work Group meeting.