8 Good Reasons to Invest in Southern California’s Transportation System

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The six-county Southern California region faces a variety of challenges as well as opportunities as it prepares to welcome 4 million additional people over the next quarter century. Add in robust growth within the logistics industry, one of the area’s most important economic drivers, and the need for investment in roadways, freight lines and transit networks has never been greater. But investment requires revenues.

Recently, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) approved its 2016-2040 Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy (RTP/SCS). The plan identifies $556.5 billion in needed transportation investments over the next 25 years, including $243.7 billion for 1,288 projects specific to L.A. County — currently listed as having the worst traffic in the nation.

While the RTP/SCS does not implement funding, it is a critical first step in making sure the region is prepared for the future. SCAG aims to provide a highly efficient transportation network for the region. But transportation is about more than mobility. It is also a quality-of-life issue, impacting our health and our prosperity. SCAGs 2016 plan is significant in that part of its mandate is to bring the region into compliance with clean air standards.

Here are eight noteworthy highlights of the regional plan:

  • An 8 percent reduction in greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2020, an 18 percent reduction by 2035 and a 21 percent reduction by 2040 — all meeting or exceeding state requirements.
  • A reduction in per capita traffic delays of 39 percent and heavy-duty truck delays of 37 percent.
  • $70.7 billion in goods movement strategies. Today, more than 40 percent of all container imports into the U.S. pass through our South Bay ports, and more than $2 trillion worth of goods are moved each year along our roads and freight systems.
  • A “fix-it-first” investment of $275.5 billion in our existing transportation and transit network.
  • $56.1 billion in capital projects and $156.7 billion toward maintenance and operations to expand our regional transit system.
  • $12.9 billion in active transportation strategies to promote walking and bicycling.
  • A projected return on investment of $2 for every $1 invested in transportation improvements.
  • 351,000 additional jobs each year tied to improved regional competitiveness and economic performance as a result of reduced congestion, better amenities and a higher standard of living. Of those jobs, 100,500 would be located in Los Angeles County.

Source: San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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