Money Train


How do we build the rail network we need in Los Angeles with little to no money? I’m sure there are a lot of highly-paid individuals sitting around City Hall right now torturing themselves with that very question. Do new rail lines really need to be paid entirely out of the city’s own pocket? Do we really need to rely on some huge federal allowance to start laying track?

I’m no politician. I’m not a transit planner. I don’t do rail alignments or ROWs or any of that other transit porn. I’m just a guy who wants to leave his car at home.

Here’s a thought: Why not approach transit funding from more of a business standpoint? Professional sports teams around the country raise millions of dollars through corporate sponsorships and naming rights.

Staples Center. Nokia Theater. Home Depot Center.

Take the Ventura Boulevard Subway. Metro Olive Live – Phase I: Universal City to Woodland Hills. How to we pay for it?

  • Federal/State/Local: We’ve heard countless times that citizens in Los Angeles will not vote for a transit tax. Well, they won’t if you take the transportation bond they voted for and use it to pay your other bills, Sacramento. They will vote for it if you earmark that fund specifically for a Los Angeles rail network, and if you show them a master plan with a map that serves the entire region. Draw every line with a pretty color, and plaster that thing on the front page of the Los Angeles Times.
  • Development Fee: Developers for projects like the Universal City and Westfield Topanga expansions are required to pay a higher developer fee to offset increased traffic congestion through the Ventura corridor. Developers could gain from a quicker approval process, while communities like Studio City and Sherman Oaks would benefit from a new rail line and reduced street traffic.
  • Naming Rights: Similar to naming rights for sports and entertainment venues,the city would be able to sell naming rights for stations or the entire line. Like stadium deals, they would be valid for the length of the contract. For example, Universal Pictures acquires naming rights to stations at Universal City, Vineland, Laurel, and Coldwater, averaging $1 million each, per year, through 2028. There are also ad revenue opportunities throughout the stations and in the rail cars themselves. Not pretty, but, sometimes you need the money.

It’s not a perfect solution. Developers and corporations have been using Los Angeles for decades to make a fortune. Isn’t it time we started using them?

Photo by mightyjc


No Responses Yet to “Money Train”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: