3010 Wilshire Blvd. #362, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Southern California Transit Advocates is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion, development and improvement of public transportation in the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

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Public and Legislative Affairs Committee

By far, the largest amount of SO.CA.TA's efforts involve advocacy in the government sector. It comes as no surprise, then, that our Public and Legislative Affairs Committee (PLAC) is the most active part of our organization.

PLAC coordinates and guides SO.CA.TA's public advocacy via campaigns, media relations, coalition building and interactions with decision makers promoting our policy analysis. Over time, SO.CA.TA has become more visible and a key player in the regional opinion making process. We routinely attend (and comment at) the Board and committee meetings of Metro each month; we do likewise at the meetings of other agencies' governing bodies when critical decisions are being made. We also hold a seat on the steering committee of the region's primary transportation conference, Mobility 21.

In keeping with SO.CA.TA's goals for a truly regional, multimodal transportation system, PLAC constantly identifies key issues, by gathering information and analyzing it to determine what the most important issues are in our region, and identifying those we can have a reasonable chance of affecting. (Click on the "Statements" link at the left for some of our recent positions and individual member statements.) We also network with other community, environmental, and transportation organizations to help build a consensus in the region.

In addition, PLAC serves as our primary contact to the media. We have worked hard to build trust and credibility with reporters as a source of information and opinion on transit-related matters. That same credibility has resulted in higher visibility as PLAC writes letters to the editor and op-ed articles on public transportation issues; the name Southern California Transit Advocates often appears in the editorial sections of our region's newspapers or as the source of quotes in news articles.

Our advocacy includes contacting elected officials, both in writing and in person, to communicate our opinions on pending decisions. We have taken positions on many transportation-related legislative measures over the years, and our name is well-known in the halls of the State Capitol in Sacramento among lawmakers and their staff.

All of our outreach efforts -- such as our booths at openings of major transit lines and facilities, and at environmental events with a focus on transportation -- are coordinated by PLAC. Our ongoing campaign to build public support for the Wilshire Blvd. subway extension, including education on how individual members of the public can effectively lobby their elected officials, has received a considerable amount of attention.

We also are responsible for the SO.CA.TA Speaker Series, where each month's public meeting is preceded by a guest speaker from a transit agency or related industry.

The monthly PLAC column and Metro Board report are prominent features in each month's Transit Advocate newsletter, where we have a reputation for ferreting out otherwise overlooked items concerning our region's transportation agencies and decision-making. (Another good reason to become a SO.CA.TA member if you aren't already one!)

PLAC also creates most of the content for our website.

  • Dana Gabbard (Executive Secretary)
Committee Members:
  • Nate Zablen (ex officio as President)
  • Hank Fung
  • Charles Hobbs
  • Nick Matonak
  • Andy Novak
  • Ken Ruben
  • Alex Schaffer
  • Jerard Wright

Public and Legislative Affairs Resources
These resource listings are compiled by PLAC for the education of and use by the public and may be reproduced or linked to, with attribution.

  • Metro Governance Council Information - Information about Metro's local councils. (last updated 15 November 2010)
  • California High Speed Rail (last updated 1 November 2010)
  • Project and Study Websites - Links to official websites and media coverage of significant transportation projects and studies currently underway. (last updated 1 November 2010)
  • Legislative Update - State and federal legislative information. (last updated 5 October 2010)
  • Street Closure, Vehicle Location and Bus Detour Resources (last updated 1 October 2010)
  • Transit Agency Agenda List - Links to agendas for transit funding and operating governing boards, oversight committees, and technical review bodies. (last updated 2 August 2010)
  • State/Federal Transportation Funding Resources (last updated 12 July 2010)
  • Historical Materials on Southern California Transportation (last updated 23 April 2010)
  • Outlook for Federal Transportation Funding - Text of memorandum by the L.A. City Council Chief Legislative Analyst's office on the outlook for federal transportation trust funds. (last updated 23 April 2010)
  • Formula Allocation Procedure - Resources on the debate on revising regional transit funding allocation procedures in Los Angeles County. (last updated 19 February 2010)
  • Transportation Related Tours in Southern California - Information on transit- and transportation-related tours in the region. (last updated 17 February 2010)
  • Restrictions on Photography of Transit Vehicles (last updated 11 February 2010)
  • Bus Shelters in the City of Los Angeles - Metro staff reports on how bus shelters are installed and maintained within Los Angeles. (last updated 29 January 2010)
  • Cellphone Use by Bus Operators (last updated 22 January 2010)
  • Toll Roads as Public/Private Partnerships - Analysis of viability of public/private partnership options for toll roads. (last updated 16 June 2008)
  • High Cost of Pavement Maintenance - Resources on the vexing problem of escalating pavement maintenance costs.
  • Security on Metro - Contact information for the Transit Services Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    Comments, suggestions and additions may be e-mailed to Dana Gabbard.

    Other Public Transportation Advocacy Organizations

    Rail Passenger Association of California (RailPAC)
    Train Riders Association of California (TRAC)
    These two groups advocate for improved rail (Amtrak and commuter services) throughout California. Historically, TRAC focuses on Northern California (Bay Area), and RailPAC is more concerned with Southern California.

    This group introduces schoolchildren to the public transportation system in Southern California, by going on excursions. (Tim Adams, the leader of TransitPeople, is a So.CA.TA member.)

    Auto-Free Orange County
    Orange County based group advocating alternatives to driving.

    Modern Transit Society
    Bay Area based group advocating alternatives to driving.

    Bay Rail Alliance
    Group advocating a regional rail system, and improved CalTrain, in the Bay Area.

    Delaware Valley Association of Rail Passengers (DVARP)
    Transit advocacy group in the Philadelphia area.

    National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP)
    Group supporting an improved Amtrak rail system.

    Transport 2000 Canada
    Transport 2000 British Columbia
    Canadian transit advocacy groups.