Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda L. Solis released the following statement after introducing a motion at the LA Metro Board of Directors that would develop an equity strategy as part of the congestion pricing framework that would minimize impacts to low-income drivers:
“I am deeply concerned about how congestion pricing could be implemented in Los Angeles County. Before Metro moves further down this path, I feel it is critical to ensure that the benefits of congestion pricing are felt by all of our communities – including those that are far too often left behind by innovation. LA County’s poorest households already spend a disproportionate amount of their incomes on transportation as compared to other households. They also have much less flexibility when it comes to work hours – which means they don’t have a choice when it comes to when they must drive. Further, our lowest-income communities almost always receive a disparate burden of the negative effects of our current transportation infrastructure: poor public transit options, heavy traffic, and unhealthy levels of air pollution.
While we work towards reducing congestion, it is our job as Metro Directors to make sure that we are not harming the very communities that need our help.
By developing and implementing a comprehensive equity strategy that supports the very foundation of congestion pricing, we can ensure that all residents benefit from the positive effects of congestion pricing, without leaving anyone behind.”
Supervisor Solis’ equity strategy motion, which will be considered at the next meeting of the Metro Board of Directors currently scheduled for February 28, 2019, makes the following directives:
(1) Develop an equity strategy that considers reinvesting congestion pricing revenue as a key source of funds to minimize economic impacts to low-income drivers;
(2) In partnership with the Metro Board of Directors, nominate subject matter experts in equity as members of the proposed Advisory Council;
(3) Engage academia, community-based organizations, cities, subregions, and Los Angeles County during the development of the equity strategy and consider the effects of congestion pricing on drivers that rely on their vehicles for their livelihood;
(4) Defer inclusion of congestion pricing revenue in any project acceleration financial plan until the completion of the congestion pricing feasibility study and the equity strategy;
(4) Revise the congestion pricing recommendation language to reflect the directives in this motion; and
(5) Report back on the proposed components of the equity strategy at the February 2019 Board meeting.