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Healthy Streets Program: L.A. Votes “yes,”  But How Will the City Cover for It?

Healthy Streets Program: Opposition and Concerns

Cyclist in bike lane
Healthy Streets Program: L.A. Votes “yes,”  But How Will the City Cover for It? (PHOTO: Los Angeles Times)

Financial Planning Challenges

The City of Los Angeles is preparing for a challenging fiscal year, made worse by a recent election outcome that has generated a great deal of controversy. The policy, called Healthy Streets L.A. (HLA) encountered opposition from several sources, including neighborhood firemen who voiced worries about possible deterioration of emergency response times due to traffic congestion.

Stakeholders are pondering the measure’s ramifications for the city’s financial planning after it garnered approval with 63% of the vote despite resistance. Next month, Mayor Karen Bass will present her proposed budget, which must account for the upcoming HLA requirement to build bike and bus lanes.

For the next ten years, the city expects to spend a substantial $300 million a year on this infrastructure project. It begs the question, where will this significant amount come from?

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Budget Committee’s Perspective

Dr. Sarah Seguin, a politics professor at Pomona College, has provided insights. She states that the city’s budget is constrained by the requirement to pay for bike lanes, which may cause funds to be diverted from programs that support affordable housing and public safety.

In contrast, Inside Safe, which is experiencing its financial difficulties, now has a budget of $250 million, significantly less than the expected cost of HLA.

City Councilmember Bob Blumenfield, who opposed the measure, serves as the chair of the budget committee. While acknowledging the necessity of finding a balanced budget amidst these constraints, he warns against overly optimistic expectations, suggesting that while the estimated cost may be somewhat inflated, it still presents a significant financial hurdle that demands careful consideration.

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