Los Angeles voters have made it clear they’re willing to tax themselves for more transit options.
But, so far, most residents aren’t displaying much interest in riding: Metro ridership declined for the fifth straight year in 2018, and census data show nearly 75 percent of Los Angeles County commuters still drive to and from work by themselves. Less than 7 percent use public transit.
A new UCLA study suggests there may be a good reason for that: Transit systems thrive in places where it’s difficult or expensive to drive. In 2016, when LA County voters approved Measure M, a sales tax measure funding transportation infrastructure, backers of the initiative billed it as a solution to LA’s traffic congestion.
That means that many voters may be less interested in an alternative to driving and more interested in faster trips on the freeway—which could present problems for LA officials struggling to address rising tailpipe emissions.