Measure M: Metro’s Sales Tax Could Possibly Provide Traffic Relief, But Not Until 2057

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Drivers idle in morning rush-hour traffic in the San Fernando Valley. (Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

As cars and trucks crawl along a congested Southern California freeway, a dark-haired driver rests her head on her hand in frustration.

The narrator’s voice breaks in with a tantalizing suggestion: If Los Angeles County voters approve a tax increase for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Nov. 8, they will reduce their time stuck in traffic by 15% a day.

What the advertisement doesn’t mention is that Measure M’s promised traffic relief would not arrive until 2057. By then, voters in their 20s and 30s would be old enough to retire.

The analysis that the ad cites did not conclude that traffic will flow faster in 2057 than it does today, nor that traffic will noticeably improve over the next few years. Barring a recession or a major increase in the cost to drive and park, experts say, congestion in Los Angeles will continue to get worse.

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