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Old 02-11-2011, 11:28 PM
Osomatic Osomatic is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 4
Thanks for this colum, Cecil. As a long-time reader, question-asker, and former employee of the LA County MTA, it's nice to see some kudos for what we've been trying to do out here.

And LA does deserve a few pats on the back. Since the opening of that first modern rail line 20 years ago, we've been building a... well... not extensive rail network, but at least the backbone of one. And yes, new projects are in the works.

However, let's not get too crazy with the patting upon our West Coast backs. First, that "approved" Subway to the Sea is entirely without funding. At the moment, only studies and public meetings have been held. The alignment is still very much in question, and rather painfully predictably, NIMBYs in Beverly Hills are doing their best to hold it up. The Crenshaw line, which the NY Times characterizes as terminating at LAX, would only go about a mile from LAX, as does the existing Green Line. At the moment, you can take rail to vaguely near the airport, then you must transfer to a shuttle bus. Also, downtown connections can be a bit irritating - essentially, we have two downtown hubs. Currently there are plans underway for a "downtown connector," but as with the rest, the funding is up in the air.

We did recently pass a sales tax increase for construction of all these things, but realistically, unless our mayor (whose abilities heretofore seem to be a talent for getting himself into photo ops) can actually get a massive loan out of the federal government based on that sales tax revenue, we're not going to see any of this stuff finished until 2040. At least.

And in the meantime, we've been cutting bus services down due to massive budget shortfalls.

So... it's not quite a transit wasteland. But we're a long way from being a transit paradise, either.