LA Neighbors United Asks Feds to Halt Transit Assistance for City of Los Angeles

- City is acting "duplicitously," group charges

- Says federal government should withhold funds for alternative transportation until City aligns transportation and land use policies

Nov 09, 2010, 17:41 ET from LA Neighbors United

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- LA Neighbors United, a local community group dedicated to making Los Angeles a better place to live and do business, today sent a letter to Federal Transit Administration Chief Peter M. Rogoff asking the federal government to "halt processing of any and all applications for federal transit assistance for alternative transportation projects in the City of Los Angeles," including New Starts funding, until the City government "demonstrates through its land use policy that it is committed to meeting the objectives of [Los Angeles County] Measure R and state environmental laws."

The full text of LA Neighbors United's letter to Rogoff is provided here:

"Dear Mr. Rogoff:

"It is with deep regret that we send you this letter, but we very much need your help.

"As you know, the County of Los Angeles is in the process of making a historic investment in multi-modal transportation infrastructure for our region.  Encouraged by a dedicated band of transit activists and supported by the voters, this investment through Measure R has the potential to help transform Southern California — known for its air pollution and sprawl — into a more sustainable community and economy.

"Unfortunately, the City of Los Angeles is proving to be a bad actor in this process.  The City Council is poised, on Wednesday, to approve a community planning overlay system that will allow intensified development across virtually all 469 square miles of the City.  

"The proposed law makes no effort to target growth, including population and housing development, around transit corridors generally or Measure R funded transportation projects specifically.  Rather, the new system would perpetuate the City's historically Wild West approach to anything-goes-anywhere planning, regardless of proximity to transit, and in clear violation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

"Such an approach, which effectively decouples land use planning from transportation planning in the City of Los Angeles, is reckless, conflicting and incoherent.  It jeopardizes the ability of Measure R projects to perform as anticipated.  It also undermines Southern California's ability to meet the greenhouse gas emissions targets to be set under a new state law.

"We are bringing this to your attention because our City is acting duplicitously … applying for federal loans, loan guarantees and grants while maintaining that the City is aligning its transportation and land use planning, when that simply is not the case.  We are asking the County of Los Angeles to intervene, in hopes of fending off the worst potential new planning policy … which has implications not just for transit, but for our natural environment including the City's hillsides, canyons and scenic viewsheds, and the newly christened Los Angeles River.

"Until the City demonstrates through its land use policy that it is committed to meeting the objectives of Measure R and state environmental laws, we ask you to halt processing of any and all applications for federal transit assistance for alternative transportation projects in the City of Los Angeles (but not for the rest of Los Angeles County), including "New Starts" funding applications.

"We know this is asking a lot, and we are not happy about making this request, especially since it could jeopardize federal government support for the 30-10 plan to accelerate Measure R projects.  We fully embrace 30-10, so long as the City's land use and transportation planning is aligned.

"As we advocate for planned, managed growth, we know we are up against 100 years of Wild West planning culture in Los Angeles.  But we also recognize the historic opportunity to remake Los Angeles into a sustainable city over the next two generations … to improve our transportation infrastructure, our energy infrastructure and our watershed … and to preserve what is so incredibly special about Los Angeles that so many of us continue to fight for our dream city despite harsh political resistance and other impediments.

"Thank you for your consideration."

The letter is signed by Cary Brazeman, who is identified as founder of LA Neighbors United.

Copies of the letter were sent today to Denny Zane, Move LA; Bart Reed, The Transit Coalition; Mark Gold, Heal the Bay; Andy Lipkis, TreePeople; Joe Edmiston, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy; Darrell Steinberg, California State Senate; Members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors (Gloria Molina, Mark Ridley-Thomas, Zev Yaroslavsky, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich); Art Leahy, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority; and Antonio Villaraigosa and Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles).

SOURCE LA Neighbors United