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L.A. County supervisors OK tax extension for fall ballot

L.A. County lawmakers will let voters decide on an additional 30 years for Measure R to fund transportation projects, which would leave it in place until 2069.

August 08, 2012|By Jason Song, Los Angeles Times
  • Supervisor Mike Antonovich in 2010.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich in 2010. (Francine Orr, Los Angeles…)

Los Angeles County supervisors voted Tuesday to put a measure on the November ballot that would extend a half-cent sales tax for transportation projects an additional 30 years.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority had already endorsed the ballot measure, but supervisors still needed to approve it before sending it to the Legislature for a final vote.

All five supervisors are also on the MTA board and several have criticized the extension of Measure R as unnecessary and premature, especially because it was originally approved by voters in 2008 and wasn't set to expire until 2039. Supporters of the ballot measure, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, say the additional money is needed to fund a subway extension to the Westside, a downtown light-rail connection and other projects.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich was the lone board member to vote against it and warned that fares would rise if voters approved the measure.

He also called the measure "false advertising" because it would not fund any projects that would be completed in the near future.

The public "didn't put me here to mislead," Antonovich said. "They put me here to make some suggestions and corrections and offer solutions to problems."

But two other supervisors who had previously criticized the Measure R extension, Don Knabe andMark Ridley-Thomas, voted in favor of letting voters decide on the extension.

"There's no other choice," Knabe said.

County supervisors could only decline to put the measure on the ballot if they believed that the ballot style was incorrect or if they thought computer or voting equipment could not accommodate the additional measure, according to county attorneys.

Supervisor Gloria Molina was absent from Tuesday's meeting.

jason.song@latimes.com

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