Metro board considers congestion pricing to fund '28 by 28' transit plan

Metro's Board of Directors will consider a funding and financing plan today for the '28 by 28' Olympics transit initiative, which includes a congestion pricing proposal under which auto drivers would be taxed or pay a fee to use certain roads or enter specific neighborhoods.

The '28 by 28' initiative aims to complete 28 key road, transit and bicycle/pedestrian projects in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

Many of the projects already are scheduled to be finished by 2028, but eight would need accelerated funding to make the goal, and the board will consider a proposal from Metro that offers a number of possible solutions to the funding gap.

The Olympics transit initiative was proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who also helped lead the city's campaign to land the Games.

Among the projects slated for completion before 2028 includes a Gold Line Foothill extension to Claremont, improvements to the Orange Line, and the extension of the Purple Line, but eight other projects will require funding that is not yet secured.

The Metro report offers a number of potential solutions that could help close the funding gap, including taking on more debt, asking sub-regions that will benefit from the projects to help pay for them, adding per-ride fees or taxes for rideshare companies like Uber and Lift, pursuing increased state and federal funding, and exploring congestion pricing.

Congestion pricing is likely to get a lot of attention and be a polarizing idea because it could have a wide impact on the daily commutes of millions of residents.

Metro CEO Philip Washington has endorsed the idea of exploring congestion pricing.

'This is much, much bigger than just advancing money for '28 by 2028,' he told the Metro Ad Hoc Congestion, Highway and Roads Committee earlier this month.

He added, "This is about reimagining Los Angeles County. This is really about sending a message to the world that we are doing something about congestion, which is probably the first thing that comes to mind to people around the world. They think Los Angeles, they think congestion."

Congestion pricing has been successful in other cities, including Stockholm, the Metro report said.

"In (Stockholm), the congestion pricing scheme was widely opposed and was put in place on a pilot basis," the report said. After the trial period, the scheme proved so popular that it was accepted permanently."

CNS contributed to this report.