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How Are Measure R Funds Used in Manhattan Beach?

Here's a look at how the money generated from the voter-approved half-cent sales tax increase is being used in the city. Tell us what you think about how the money's being spent.

In November, if California Gov. Jerry Brown signs a bill to  for the next 30 years, residents in Manhattan Beach will join other Los Angeles County voters in deciding whether or not to pass AB 1446, which is aimed at accelerating rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects around the region.

Passed by voters in 2008, Measure R imposed a half-cent sales tax increase to generate money for the construction and operation of a specified list of transportation projects, including the , the Gold Line Extension, and various other projects in the San Fernando Valley, San Gabriel Valley and Los Angeles.

Measure R's sales tax increase lasts until 2039 and is expected to raise a projected $40 billion in that time period. Approval of the November ballot proposal would extend the tax until 2069.

Many of the Measure R-funded projects include major ones that involve the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

In Manhattan Beach, Measure R funds are used in several ways.

Most recently, MB City Council approved $25,000 from the fund to pay for added transportation to the Redondo Beach Main Library for people 55 and older and the disabled when the county-owned and -operated Manhattan Beach Public Library shuts its doors and is torn down to make way for its replacement.

The funds will cover an increased number of runs by Dial-A-Ride to and from the RB Main Library and cab vouchers for individuals who are unable to catch a scheduled Dial-A-Ride transit bus.

Measure R funds can be used for street maintenance, bicycle and pedestrian facilities and transit purposes. In MB, they have been used for street improvements, including street resurfacing, pothole repairs, sidewalk and pedestrian improvements and traffic signal improvements under a "local return" provision.

Measure R local return funds are allocated to cities on a per capita basis, according to MB's Finance Director Bruce Moe, who estimated the city will receive $330,000 per year. MB city government began to receive Measure R funds in January 2010. 

Measure R also has a Highway Capital Projects program which is used in the South Bay. A City Staff report from May 15, 2012 estimates that $906 million will be available to South Bay agencies during the measure's 30 years "to fund capacity improvements that benefit the state highway system."

A city project to widen the Sepulveda Bridge [located near The Belamar Hotel on the oceanside of the street and Fry's on the inland side, just before Rosecrans Avenue] was approved for funding through the HCP program. Such funds are available on a reimbursement basis, according to the city staff report.

In Oct. of 2010, City Council was able to maneuver to release Measure R funds that had been moved to cover a city staff projected shortfall of Proposition A funds. The move was an exchange of funds with the City of Lakewood that "relieved the prior [Prop A] imbalance which was being made up with Measure R transportation funds," and further noted, "By exchanging General Funds for Lakewood’s Proposition A funds, we can restore the Measure R funds by $124,000 which will then be available for the trolley or other transportation related projects."

Some projects Measure R has supported include or are set to include:

  • Concrete street construction: 6th Street, 7th Street, 10th Place, 11th Place and 12th Place.
  • Dual left-turn lanes on Marine Avenue at Sepulveda Boulevard.

During discussion of a community trolley system, Measure R funds were presented as a possible funding source

The available Measure R fund balance by the end of fiscal year 2011-12 is estimated to be an "unobligated balance of $730,000," according to City Manager David Carmany in an April 3, 2012 proposed "FY 2012-2013 Through FY 2O16-2017 Capital Improvement Plan."

The HCP program will provide project funding in 17 regional project group categories: Interstate 405, I-110, I-105 and SR-91 Ramp and Interchange Improvements (South Bay). South Bay agencies can use Measure R funds to support capacity improvements that benefit the state highway system.

Metro oversees the distribution of South Bay Measure R funds and can agree to project-specific Memoranda of Understanding with lead agencies, said Moe. The MOUs must establish schedules and budgets for each project, and a city has up to five years to spend the funds allocated for an HCP project in a particular fiscal year.

The extension from 2039 to 2069 that may be placed on the Nov. ballot is said to enable Metro to "bond against" future Measure R revenue from the tax, allowing the agency to estimate an anticipated amount of Measure R revenue, sell that amount in bonds to receive that estimated revenue quickly, and then pay back the bond holders when the money from the Measure R sales tax is collected.

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