Weekly Transit eNewsletter
Monday, December 25, 2006
Volume 2, Issue 52

Happy Holiday week! This is going to be an abreviated issue without the many interesting links. They will be back in January, as the coming year will be news and development packed, unlike any other over the past 5 years.

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

Don't Forget: This Tuesday, the 26th, is The Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting. See Upcoming Events below for details.

Here is a list of other recent developments:

Reflections: Let us look back on this year's major transportation milestones:

It was last January when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced an ambitious $222 billion bond package that featured money for transportation. Legislators eventually wiggled the figure to $42 billion, with $20 billion going to transportation. The proposal was placed on a statewide ballot as Proposition 1B, where voters said "yes" to the bonds.

As a result, the California Transportation Commission will select the first road projects to receive the bond funds in early 2007, with transit funding to come next. Also, Proposition 1A, which aimed to close loopholes and protect transportation funds, passed by wide margins.

The idea of extending the Red Line subway down Wilshire Boulevard was resuscitated after years of dormancy. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spearheaded the movement to bring true rapid transit to the Westside by means of a "subway to the sea".

Anticipating possible revenues from the yet-approved state bonds, Villaraigosa and the Metro Board voted to launch Major Investment Studies for the Wilshire subway as well as several other corridors including the Harbor Subdivision and the Downtown Regional Connector.

Even more amazing, The U.S. House of Representatives passed a repeal of a law prohibiting federal funds for the construction of the Purple Line down Wilshire Boulevard on September 20. Rep. Henry Waxman wrote H.R. 4653 to undo a ban he wrote 20 years ago due to safety concerns. A neutral panel of tunnel experts explained that improvements in tunnel technology have been made since then. Waxman found the conclusions satisfying to the point where his bill ultimately awaits a vote by the U.S. Senate in 2007 and signature by the President.

As if that wasn't enough, discussion to bring the Green Line closer to LAX also resurfaced. This time, however, a fresh group of civic and airport leaders are taking the proposal seriously and, to this end, are working to promote it.

Transit Coalition President Kenneth S. Alpern and Executive Director Bart Reed have held meetings with various officials promoting an initial segment from the Aviation Green Line station to Lincoln and Sepulveda Blvds., with a people-mover connection to LAX terminals.

In this fashion, the Green Line can be extended further to Marina del Rey and Santa Monica. Using the Harbor Subdivision between Downtown L.A. and the airport for Metrolink-style service, as well as building light rail on Crenshaw with a connection to LAX, was also mulled in conjunction with the Green Line proposal.

After decades of advocacy and planning, the Exposition Light Rail Line broke ground in September. The Metro Board green-lighted the project in December 2005. However, the color designation of the future line became a major brouhaha during the year, with Board member Bernard Parks rejecting the name "Aqua" (against precedent and community opinion) and imposing various other names. For the moment, a black line will mark the line and the name will be discussed again at a future date. The naming issue should not affect construction activities or the opening date set for 2009.

It was this time last year that this newsletter reported on Metro receiving two tunnel boring machines for construction of the Eastside Gold Line. This December, Metro celebrated the completion of their work. Meanwhile, the 101 overpass near Union Station takes shape while preparations continue for the overhaul of the First Street bridge over the Los Angeles River.

And let us not forget some of the more curious developments that transpired during 2006: Enzogate, TransiTV, and cookie-scented ads at bus stops.

Upcoming Events:
Consider attending our monthly Transit Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, December 26 - 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original, 1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. ( Map.) We hope to see you there!

Angeles Chapter Sierra Club Transportation Committee: Thursday, January 4, 7:30 p.m. Angeles Chapter office, 3435 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 320, Los Angeles.

Metro San Gabriel Valley Governance Council: Tuesday, January 9, 5 p.m., 3369 Santa Anita Ave. (near El Monte bus station), El Monte.

Metro Westside/Central Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 5 p.m., La Cienega Tennis Center, Sunset Room, 325 S. La Cienega Blvd., Beverly Hills.

Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council: Wednesday, January 10, 6:30 p.m., Marvin Braude Constituent Center, 6262 Van Nuys Bl., Van Nuys.

SCAG MagLev Task Force: Thursday, January 11, 10:00 a.m. SCAG Offices, 818 W. Seventh St., 12th floor, Los Angeles. CANCELLED.

Metro Gateway Cities Governance Council: Thursday, January 11, 2 p.m., Gas Company ERC, 9240 Firestone Bl., Downey.

Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority: Thursday, January 11, 2:30 p.m., Board Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los Angeles.

Metro South Bay Governance Council: Friday, January 12, 9.30 a.m., Carson Community Center, 801 E. Carson St., Carson.

SCRRA (Metrolink) Committee Meetings: Friday, January 12, 10 a.m. SCRRA Offices, 700 S. Flower St., 26th floor, Los Angeles.

Southern California Transit Advocates: Saturday, January 13, 1 p.m., Angelus Plaza, Rm. 422, 255 S. Hill St., Los Angeles.

SCRRA (Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, January 26, 10 a.m., San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building, 12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.

Missed last week's newsletter? Read it here!

Get the Print Edition of Moving Southern California, our monthly newsletter. Request a sample copy.

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.

Visit our Discussion Board for the latest dialogue on transit.


bart.reed@thetransitcoalition.us  The Transit Coalition