Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chair Hilda Solis Thursday succeeded Mayor Eric Garcetti as the chair of the Los Angles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

Solis — whose term will run through June 30, 2022 — said her priorities as chair will be to support Metro’s transit riders, ensuring the transit system recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic in an equitable way and reimagining Metro’s highway investments.

“As congestion worsens and more people gain access to cars, bus riders — particularly among Black and Latinx communities — suffer the most,” Solis said. “Bus riders — who have median annual incomes of less than $18,000 — comprise some of the most disadvantaged communities in L.A. County that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.”

“Transit riders need better service, and they need it now. To provide better service, Metro needs to invest more funding in operations, homelessness outreach and alternatives to law enforcement.”

Solis noted that Metro bus ridership has declined year over year, and the region has seen a surge in vehicle ownership. She called for building more affordable housing near transit lines to prevent low-income and vulnerable communities from being displaced.

The Metro Board of Directors, which Solis was already a part of, voted on June 24 to update its Joint Development Policy to prioritize building 100% income-restricted housing on unused Metro-owned land. As of January, Metro’s Joint Development team had completed 2,200 units of housing, 34% of which are considered affordable, according to Metro’s website. It defines “affordable housing” as units for people who earn 60% or less than the L.A. County Area Median Income.

“With a housing crisis that makes it challenging to live in Los Angeles County, transportation serves as a critical tool in helping residents get around. And as housing becomes more expensive, commutes are becoming longer and more arduous. Metro must use the land that it will acquire as part of upcoming capital projects to quickly build more affordable housing to help prevent future displacement and to better serve our most vulnerable transit riders,” Solis said in a statement Thursday.

She also called for reimagining Metro’s highway program, saying that traditional highway-widening projects pollute neighborhoods and cause displacement.

“For decades, Metro and other agencies across the United States have built freeway projects at the expense of communities of color. We cannot continue repeating mistakes of the past and worsening structural inequities. Metro must begin exploring the impacts of its highway investments and partner with communities to identify mobility solutions that work for everyone whether they walk, bike, roll, drive or take transit,” she said.

Solis also said she wants to drive equitable solutions for the transit system’s COVID-19 recovery. She noted that more than 15,000 small businesses in L.A. County have closed, impacting Black and Latino workers.

“Low-income communities and small businesses have taken the brunt of the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Solis said.

“With an $8 billion annual budget, Metro has the resources to revive the economy with a focus on equity-based solutions. Metro can advance an equitable recovery for LA County by creating well-paying jobs targeted toward under-served communities, developing new pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs, engaging more women in construction trades, expanding programs to support small businesses near Metro transit lines and leveraging the return of the federal local hire pilot program.”

The 23-member board is made up of five L.A. County Board of Supervisors, four people appointed by the L.A. County City Selection Committee, the Mayor of Los Angles and three people appointed by the mayor. The board position rotates between groups.

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