File photo of Mayor Robert Garcia.
Mayor Robert Garcia was elected to a four-year term to the Metro Board of Directors Thursday evening, giving the city a seat at the table as the transportation agency is expected to oversee multiple improvement projects, that will be paid for in part with Measure M funds, which was approved by county voters in November.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to represent the region and Long Beach on the Metro Board,” Garcia said in a statement. “We have huge challenges ahead, including improving safety on the Blue Line, expanding rail service across LA County, and ensuring cities receive their fair share of Measure M revenues.”
Those Measure M revenues, which would create an estimated revenue flow of $860 million annually through an indefinite half-cent sales tax increase in the county, would help fund projects aimed at easing traffic congestion in the region. The projects, which include bus and rail improvements, regional rail projects and local street repairs, are expected to be completed over a 40-year period.
In February, the Board of Directors is expected to make a decision on a plan that calls for sharing policing and security services among several agencies, including the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) and Los Angeles Police Department (LBPD). At the same time, it would scale back the role of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD).
Garcia, who previously announced his support for local patrol of Long Beach rail stations, said his position remains the same.
“I have a different role now, so I want to make sure I listen to all sides, but I'm in absolute support of more local control for Long Beach,” Garcia told the Post.
The Metro Board of Directors is made up of 13 elected and appointed officials from throughout the county, including all five county supervisors and the mayor of Los Angeles. Garcia was elected Thursday to the Metro board by the Los Angeles County City Selection Committee, which is made up of a representative of each city in the county. He will replace Lakewood Councilwoman Diane DuBois.
City News Service contributed to this report.
Editor's note: this story was updated at 1:42PM with information on who elected Garcia and who he will replace on the board.