Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilman Al Austin are heading to Sacramento Thursday, where they plan to lobby for one of two seats on the Metro Board of Directors that would become available under a proposed State Senate bill.
If passed, Senate Bill 1472—authored by Sen. Tony Mendoza, D-Artesia—will increase the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors from 14 to 16 members.
“It is critical that the Board delivers on the needs of all residents in Los Angeles County,” Mendoza said in a release last month. “Unfortunately, the current make-up of the Board does not equitably reflect the County as a whole."
Metro’s 14 board members include County Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas, Hilda Solis, Sheila Kuehl, Don Knabe and Michael Antonovich; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and councilmen Mike Bonin and Paul Krekorian; Lakewood Councilwoman Diane DuBois; Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian; Inglewood Mayor James Butts; Duarte Councilman John Fasana, Los Angeles appointee Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker; and Gov. Jerry Brown non-voting appointee Carrie Bowen.
Garcia and Austin are scheduled to meet with Mendoza and Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens and Long Beach, who are members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which will consider the bill during its May 23 meeting. The bill was previously approved by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee on a bipartisan 6 to 3 vote in April.
“Long Beach is the second largest city in the County, and should absolutely have representation on the [Metro] Board,” Mayor Garcia stated Wednesday. “We look forward to discussing with Senators Mendoza and Lara how Long Beach can have a voice on the Board.”
“As a crucial transportation center and a city of almost half a million people, Long Beach needs and deserves a seat on this Board.” stated Austin, who serves as the chair of the city’s State Legislation Committee.
Under the proposed bill, the speaker of the State Assembly and the State Senate president pro-tem—who also serves as the chair of the Senate Rules Committee—would each appoint a new city member. The two appointed members would also need to reside in the County of Los Angeles and not hold residence in the same city as any other Metro board member at the time of the appointment.
“Adding two more public members will ensure that Metro fairly represents the entire County of Los Angeles. Doing this will improve Metro’s ability to develop a regional transit plan that meets the needs of all county residents,” Mendoza said in a previous statement.