BY PAUL KREKORIAN & ARA NAJARIAN
With the November 8 election day rapidly approaching, it’s important for the Armenian-American community to make choices that ensure we have the best representatives fighting for our interests in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. But there are many other issues on the ballot that will also have a dramatic impact on our community and our families. One such issue is Measure M, the Los Angeles County Traffic Improvement Plan, which will bring incredible benefits to our lives by cutting our daily commute times, and boosting our economy and the health of our community.
As Armenian-American elected leaders who have long been active in the issues that matter most to our community, we urge you to vote “Yes” on Measure M. Passing Measure M is critical to our community, and here’s why:
It is the best opportunity we’ve ever had have to tackle one of the biggest challenges we face in Southern California — traffic congestion. If it passes, Measure M will reduce the time we’re stuck in traffic by 15 percent. By making smart improvements to rail, bus, freeways and local roads, Measure M will create 465,000 good professional and construction jobs for our families, and will reduce smog and pollution so that we can all breathe easier and healthier. Also important to our community is the benefits it brings for our elderly and young people. Measure M is specifically written to keep senior, disabled and student bus and rail fares affordable. It also makes critical earthquake retrofits to our bridges and overpasses.
Along with creating the true countywide transportation system we’ve been waiting for, Measure M will generate $22.5 billion that goes directly back into the cities we live in. Whether it’s Glendale, Burbank, Montebello or Los Angeles, Measure M allows each of LA County’s 88 cities to fill potholes, repave roads, create bike paths and walkways, help children get safely to school and complete other neighborhood infrastructure projects that will make our lives easier.
Measure M will modernize LA County’s aging transportation system and build a 21st century transit network by improving and expanding subway, light rail, Rapid Bus, Metrolink, freeways and highways. Measure M will add and accelerate transit lines and will finally tie them together into a comprehensive system like the ones other metropolitan regions use to reduce traffic and accelerate their economies.
The benefits of Measure M are countywide, but each area where our community lives will come up with big wins. Whether it’s a new rapid bus line from North Hollywood to Burbank, Glendale and Pasadena; an eastward extension of the Gold Line, critical freeway improvement projects on the 5, 10, 57, 60 101 or 405; a new Vermont rapid bus line from Hollywood to the 105, upgrades on the San Fernando Valley’s Orange Line and conversion to light rail, or a tunnel through the Sepulveda Pass connecting the Valley to the Westside, Measure M will deliver for everyone.
This is just a small taste of how Measure M will transform our cities. We need traffic relief, transportation options, neighborhood improvements, jobs and cleaner air now.
A recent analysis by Texas A&M University found that traffic congestion costs the average driver in our region $1,711 in wasted fuel, lost productivity and other costs. All told, drivers here lose 622 million hours stuck in traffic a year. These are precious hours we could otherwise spend with our families, friends, having fun or giving back to our community.
With Los Angeles County’s population increasing by 2.3 million in the coming years, we cannot wait to take action. Unless we make dramatic improvements to our freeways, transit system and local roads starting right now, permanent gridlock will take hold everywhere we live.
Help us save time, ease traffic and invest in our community. Please join us in voting “Yes” on Measure M.
Find out more about Measure M here: www.voteyesonm.org
Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian is the first Armenian-American to be elected to city office in Los Angeles. He is a member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Board of Directors and the Metrolink Board of Directors.
Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian is a member of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Board of Directors.