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SCV residents speak out about proposed tax hike

Posted: May 11, 2016 7:43 p.m.
Updated: May 11, 2016 7:43 p.m.
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Residents of the Santa Clarita Valley raised concerns Wednesday evening about a proposed sales tax hike that could be on the November ballot.

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering extending an existing half-cent tax known as Measure R for 18 more years as well as adding a second half-cent sales tax in Los Angeles County, bringing the Metro sales tax to one cent on every taxable dollar spent.

“We’re looking at ways to address the growing traffic demands,” said Stephanie Wiggins, Metro deputy chief executive officer.

Santa Clarita City Councilwoman Marsha McLean requested that Metro hold a meeting locally, which was not originally planned.

“I’m concerned about the wording of the new plan,” she said Wednesday in regards to Metrolink funding.

McLean noted that the ballot measure would not guarantee funds for Metrolink, and asked for 1 percent of funds to be dedicated to Metrolink improvements.

“That’s the only way I can support it... or really, not oppose it,” she said.

The tax will fund transportation improvements for roads, rails, buses and infrastructure. Two percent of the tax could go toward maintenance and debt service, Wiggins said.

“The demands on our system grow everyday. When we defer on making improvements ... the price tag exponentially grows,” Wiggins said, explaining why the tax increase is needed now.

Sandra Catteli said that residents in the valley have to pay the same tax for something that only benefits them slightly.

Nina Moskel, chair of the Santa Clarita Valley Bicycle Coalition, said she was happy to see funds that would go toward bicycle and pedestrian paths.

“We’re excited about that concept,” she said.

If 10 percent of the $120 billion generated from the tax is used for bicyclists and pedestrians, she said she would definitely vote yes in November.

Public comments will be taken until May 20 at metro.net/theplan. These comments will then be considered for a final plan that will be brought before the Metro board. The board will decide if the plan will go to the voters.

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