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Existing Funding Sources

Across LA County and the municipalities adjacent to the LA River, several funding sources are in place that could support the work of projects related to this Master Plan. Additionally, state and federal funding can be leveraged toward projects in this plan.

Existing LA County Funding Sources

WHAM Committee

In December 2019, LA County formed the WHAM Committee. The WHAM Committee was formed to facilitate intentional coordination of funds associated with Measures W, H, A, and M. These four measures, passed between 2016 and 2018, include hundreds of millions of dollars for stormwater projects (W), homelessness services and housing (H), parks (A), and transportation (M). The WHAM Committee is coordinating planning to develop multi-benefit projects combining multiple funding sources, while leveraging existing county funds with other funding sources, including local, state, and federal funding opportunities. The WHAM Committee is charged with working collaboratively in a systematic method while engaging municipalities, technical experts, and other stakeholders where needed. Integration of the goals of the OurCounty Sustainability Plan is also a key purpose of the WHAM. 

The WHAM Committee was formed to facilitate intentional coordination of funds associated with Measures W, H, A, and M

The associated LA County Measures are described below:

  • Safe, Clean Water (Measure W): Focused on water quality improvement, Measure W was passed by LA County voters in 2018. The measure makes $285 million available annually for projects with a focus on water quality improvement and specifically prioritizes nature based solutions to stormwater quality challenges. The goals of Measure W are well aligned to many goals in the LA River Master Plan.
  • The Los Angeles County Homeless Initiative (Measure H): Approved in 2016, Measure H increases the county’s sales tax by ¼ percent to raise an estimated $355 million per year over ten years. Funds are appropriated for rental subsidies and housing to pursue a comprehensive regional approach to combat homelessness. The measure implements 21 strategies that directly strive to prevent homelessness, increase affordable and homeless housing, subsidize housing costs, increase income, provide case management and services, and utilize a coordinated entry system.
  • Safe, Clean Neighborhood Parks and Beaches (Measure A): Measure A is a parcel tax first approved by LA County voters in 2016. It provides for safety improvements to existing park, recreation, and beach facilities, as well as the acquisition of new parkland and open space. It can also be used toward the restoration of rivers and streams, graffiti prevention, and tree planting. It generates approximately $96 million annually and could be used to address several Master Plan goals, such as those related to parks and ecosystems. 
  • LA County Traffic Improvement Plan (Measure M): Approved in 2016 by LA County voters, Measure M is a sales tax initiative that provides funding for new transit and highway projects, enhanced bus and rail operations, and other transportation improvements throughout LA County. It generates approximately $860 million annually and could support access-related Master Plan goals.
Federal State Local
WRDA: Stormwater Priorities Prop 1, Water Bond (2014): Remaining Monies Safe, Clean, Neighborhood Parks and Beaches (Measure A): $96 million annually
USACE Continuing Authorities Plan Prop 68, Parks and Water Bond (June 2018): $4 billion statewide LA County Traffic Improvement Plan (Measure M): $860 million annually
USFWS North American Wetlands Conservation Act San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy (RMC) and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) Safe, Clean Water (Measure W):$285 million annually
NPS Land and Water Conservation Fund Coastal Conservancy: Lower River/Estuary Homeless Initiative (Measure H): $355 million annually
USBR Water SMART Wildlife Conservation Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Habitat
Existing funding for river related projects includes federal, state, and local sources.

Flood Control District Funding

The LACFCD is a special district overseen by the LA County Board of Supervisors. The LACFCD funds development projects that relate to their mission of flood risk reduction, water conservation, and water quality on lands owned or managed by the District. The LACFCD mandate also includes the ability to fund passive recreation projects along LACFCD property and rights-of-way. Several projects in the Master Plan could be partially funded by the LACFCD.

Additional Existing Funding Sources

Grants and Other Existing Funding

While there have been several successful bond measures and programs created in the last few years to support multi-benefit projects similar to the LA River Master Plan, existing grant and programmatic funding streams are spread out through multiple agencies at different levels of government with varying project scales and timeline requirements. Grants and existing funding are great opportunities for short term funding but unreliable for mid to long term implementation. During implementation, analysis of existing programs and available funding at all levels can allow sources to be generally accounted for but specifically matched back to Master Plan goals and projects for short term implementation.

At the state level several bonds exist that relate to the goals of the LA River Master Plan. The Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 (Proposition 1) authorized $7.545 billion in general obligation bonds to fund ecosystems and watershed protection and restoration, water supply infrastructure projects, including surface and groundwater storage, and drinking water protection. The Parks, Environment, and Water Bond Act of 2018 (Proposition 68) authorized $4 billion in general obligation bonds for state and local parks, environmental protection and restoration projects, water infrastructure projects, and flood protection projects. The San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy received funding for LA River planning and projects as part of Propositions 1 and 68.

State agencies which have previously received bond funding for grant programs include the Strategic Growth Council, the Department of Water Resources, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the State Water Board, the San Gabriel and Lower Los Angeles Rivers and Mountains Conservancy, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the California Natural Resources Agency, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Wildlife Conservation Board, and the State Coastal Conservancy.

At the federal level, transportation programs offer potential funding for projects such as bikeways and trails. Additional funding related to resiliency may be available through agencies such as FEMA.

Brownfield funding opportunities are outlined in detail on the opportunity page.

Parallel Funding Sources

In addition to river-specific funding sources, projects along the LA River can leverage funding from parallel efforts within the region. For example, in 2020 the LA County Board of Supervisors approved the “Care First, Jails Last” motion providing 114 recommendation to help decarcerate the county’s jails, specifically diverting individuals suffering from poor mental health, drug and alcohol dependency, homelessness, and other underlying conditions into less punitive programs that serves these vulnerabilities. Many of the county’s system-impacted communities lie within the same geographic area of those identified by the Master Plan as high-need communities. Many of the recommendations of the motion manifest in similar strategies of those of the Master Plan.

Among the recommendations, there are certain alignments that can work alongside river improvements, such as decentralized service hubs that are similar to the resources provided in Gathering Pavilions (Tier III), including low-barrier navigation centers. Additionally, the motion calls for community-based harm reduction strategies, similar to those called for river staffers. Lastly, several recommendations call for affordable and supportive housing to create secure and safe living environments for system-impacted individuals. ”Care First, Jails Last” recommends significant funding measures, and as such, recommendations in alignment with the Master Plan’s methods can work symbiotically and share these resources.

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