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MTA Board Seeks Details on Proposal for Sales Tax

August 29, 2003|Kurt Streeter | Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles transit officials decided Thursday to continue working on the terms of state legislation that could pave the way for a local sales tax increase for new roads, busways and rail lines.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board stopped short of endorsing the plan to put a local half-cent sales tax increase before county voters next year.

Instead, the board directed its staff to work on the details with state Sen. Kevin Murray (D-Culver City), who is sponsoring legislation to allow the public vote.

Under Murray's plan, the sales tax increase would last at least six years and raise more than $4 billion. The money would go to an assortment of transportation projects, ensuring construction of light-rail lines, the purchase of hundreds of new buses and an extension of the Red Line subway to the Fairfax district.

Board members said they wanted to negotiate with Murray on specific projects to be included in the legislation, as well as a timeline for completion of construction, before taking a final vote.

Representatives of the Bus Riders Union decried the plan, saying a sales tax increase would hurt the poor and arguing that the MTA would be wasting billions of dollars by building more rail lines.

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