Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Tuesday, January 10, 2006
Volume 2, Issue 2

Welcome to The Transit Coalition weekly newsletter! Our organization participates in meetings with key decision makers and community leaders and we aim to keep you informed on the latest developments in the transportation scene across Southern California.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenneger, in his State of the State address delivered on Thursday, January 5, announced his bond proposal, which among other things would rebuild much of the state's transportation infrastructure. Some groups and individuals are concerned that the proposal focuses too much on highway issues and not enough on rail. Peter Nicholas of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the governor faces numerous political challenges to make this bond proposal a reality. Indeed, the greatest threats to the bond measure and the projects proposed to be financed are politics and lack of consensus, as the case with the 710 freeway illustrates. Numerous politicians and activists have already weighed in on the matter. Meanwhile, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) worries its ballot proposal to extend Measure M through 2041 will compete with the state bond at the November polls. Even the Christian Science Monitor chips in. Ric Silver, Executive Director of RailPAC, offers his interpretation on governor's proposals on state rail projects.

In other news, President George W. Bush recess-appointed Floyd Hall and Enrique Sosa to the Amtrak Board of Directors on Wednesday, January 4. Their previous recess appointments expired when Congress adjourned last month. This still leaves three vacant seats on the Board. The National Association of Railroad Passengers has expressed their concern on the matter.

It is worth noting that Metro and its various labor unions will go through the process of renegotiating labor contracts in 2006. For much of the past three decades, the two sides have been in a contentious tug-of-war: Metro and its predecessor agencies wish to cut costs, while labor unions fight to keep or increase benefits for workers. Such friction has led to numerous strikes and, in turn, long periods without bus service in the Los Angeles area. However, with Metro Board Chairman Antonio Villaraigosa at the helm, things may not be as grim this time around, or so according to this Los Angeles Daily News article.

The Transit Coalition reports on the Friday, December 23, 2005 meeting between bicycle advocates and Caltrans District 7 Director Douglas Failing. The meeting focused on improvements to protect bicyclists through construction areas along Lincoln Boulevard (Route 1) and the installation of a peak-hour bus-only lane on said street. The report features two photographs of a construction zone along Lincoln Bl. in Playa Vista.

Here is a list reviewing other recent developments:

January 5: The Southern California Association of Governments released their 2005 State of the Region report and an accompanying report card rating key quality-of-life measures in the Southland. The report showed concern about the drop in carpool use and the increase of solo driving, as well as the unchanged amount of transit use.

January 6: On a tragic note, a motorist was killed when a Metrolink train struck her sedan at the Buena Vista Avenue crossing in Burbank. The motorist attempted to drive around railroad crossing gates. The grade crossing itself was the scene of another tragic accident three years earlier.

January 8: The Daily News reported on a delegation of Southern California officials visiting Shanghai, China to evaluate its MagLev airport line. Also reported was the swift passing of legislation at the State Senate to fast-track construction of the 405 freeway carpool lane between San Fernando Valley and West LA.

Upcoming Events: Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, January 11, 2006, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.

SCAG MagLev Taske Force: Thursday, January 12, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles. CANCELLED: Next meeting in February 9, 11:00 a.m. SCAG Offices.

Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday, January 12, 2:30 p.m. Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple St., Board Hearing Room 381B, Los Angeles.

SCRRA (Metrolink) Committee Meetings: Friday, January 13, 10 a.m., SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower St., 26th floor, Los Angeles. Agendas: Planning & Development Committee, Operational Oversight Committee.

Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday, January 14, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.

SFV Economic Alliance Livable Communities Council: Tuesday, January 17, 8 a.m., Economic Alliance Office, Boeckmann-Fleming-Gelb Board Room, 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. Guest speaker: Bud Ovrom, City of LA Deputy Mayor for the Dept. of Economic Development. (A report on the December 2005 meeting is now available.)

Metro Committee Meetings: Wednesday, January 18 and Thursday, January 19, Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles. Of note are the following items:

Finance and Budget Committee (January 18, 2:30 p.m.): Item 11 Continue funding a program aimed at improving bus service on municipal bus lines across the county.

Executive Management and Audit Committee (January 19, 9:00 a.m.): Item 17 Allow Los Angeles World Airports to run a FlyAway service (similar to the successful version serving Van Nuys) from Union Station to LAX.

Operations Committee (January 19, 12 noon): Item 25 Award a five-year contract to Mitsubishi Electric & Electronics USA to maintain elevators and escalators in Metro facilities.

Consider attending our monthly Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, January 24 - 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original, 1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. ( Map; a report on our December 27, 2005 meeting is now available.) We hope to see you there!

RailPAC invites you to meet Amtrak Acting President and CEO David Hughes at a reception to honor the bipartisan efforts of legislators and advocates in supporting Amtrak and passenger rail in California, Thursday, January 26, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m.: State Capitol, Room 317, Sacramento, CA.

RailPAC also invites you to their Annual Meeting, Saturday, January 28, State Rail Museum, Sacramento, CA. Call 888-508-2640 for information.

Missed last week's newsletter? Read it here!

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Contact Us:
We welcome your thoughts and comments on our new electronic newsletter. Please write us:
Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director

About The Transit Coalition:
The Transit Coalition is a 501[c](3) non-profit whose goal is to increase Transit Options and Mobility in Southern California by mobilizing citizens to press for sensible public policy to grow our bus and rail network.

As a grass roots group, we depend upon your contributions to allow us to pursue our important work. Add yourself to our mailing list and please donate to help us grow.

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bart.reed@thetransitcoalition.us  The Transit Coalition