Cities Play the Stimulus Money Switcheroo Game

Some LA cities are trading their stimulus money for Measure R

At least three small Los Angeles County cities are opting to switch their MTA federal stimulus money for other transportation dollars.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says it will receive $800 million in federal stimulus funds for "shovel ready" projects in just a few weeks. The 88 cities in Los Angeles County are expected to receive a minimum of $500,000.

Mark Littman, MTA spokesperson, said smaller cities that don't have construction ready projects might trade their funds with other cities for "Measure R" funds. Littman said the swap would guarantee the federal money to stay in the county, otherwise it would be lost to other governments.

Here is how it would work: cities like Sierra Madre will switch $500,000 stimulus for La Canada Flintridge $500,000 Measure R money. Measure R money, Littman said, is more easily used for transportation projects down the line. Littman said Irwindale is expected to switch with Westlake, and La Habra Heights will flip with Westlake Village. Each city must submit a letter to the MTA by Friday, March 13, outlining how Measure R money would be used.

Littman said all funds involved will be used for transportation, unless the MTA board decides to changes the requirements of the stimulus switch plan.

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