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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Garcetti: GOP tax bill “will mean more traffic”

Clauses in the bill could hamper the renovation of LAX

Traffic at Los Angeles International Airport (Credit: Getty Images)

When the GOP tax bill was first introduced, opponents of the planned legislation stressed the negative impact it could have on California homeownership as its major flaw. Now, there’s another reason Mayor Eric Garcetti and Southern California transportation officials are coming out against it.

The proposed bill – which has already passed in the House and is currently making its way through the Senate – could drastically delay several transportation projects in the notoriously traffic-clogged region, the Los Angeles Times reported.

“This will mean more traffic,” Garcetti said this week at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. “Next time you’re stuck on the tarmac at LAX, thank the Republican tax bill … because that’s what it’s going to do.”

If approved, the House version of the bill would get rid of private activity bonds that allow developers and nonprofits to borrow at low interest rates and often help pay for infrastructure projects. Income from the bonds is also tax-exempt.

The $14 billion renovation and expansion planned at LAX, set to include a new concourse and rail connection, would cost roughly $500 million more without use of the bonds. Garcetti said this could ultimately force the city to reduce the scale of the project.

The House bill and a version passed by a Senate committee earlier this month would also eliminate the employer transportation deduction, which a Metrolink official called the “cornerstone” of encouraging public transit. Additionally, the proposed measure would eliminate the tax savings Metrolink used to receive for operating a mostly gasoline-free fleet. The tax credit, which expired last year, saved the authority about $18 million in taxes per year. [LAT] – Natalie Hoberman