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L.A. County leaders fight for transportation money

Yesterday, Los Angeles County transportation providers, business leaders and elected officials urged state officials to stop using transportation funds to balance the state budget.

During the next fiscal year, L.A. County could lose more than $300 million in state gas tax monies earmarked for transportation projects, transportation officials believe.

During the past three years, the state has used $5.5 billion in state transportation funding — including more than $1.35 billion earmarked for Los Angeles County — to reduce the state deficit. The redistributed money includes funds from Proposition 42, which was approved by voters in March 2002 and requires that the state’s gasoline sales taxes be used only for transportation programs. However, in a fiscal emergency the governor and legislature can suspend the program, so since the program took effect in 2003, more than $2 billion in Proposition 42 funds have been redirected to the state’s general fund.

If the funds are diverted again, many local transportation projects could be put on hold, including L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Exposition light-rail extension to Santa Monica, authority officials said in a prepared statement.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 12/16/2004