Subway plan gains support

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant No action was taken Thursday as board members reviewed reports outlining the costs of the 13-mile extension from Mid-Wilshire to Santa Monica and its impact on the traffic-choked corridor. “We’ve tried everything on Wilshire,” said Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke, an MTA board member, pointing to failed attempts to create a busway along the boulevard. “I know it’s not going to be immediate, but the (traffic) problem’s not going to go away. And the only way we’re going to solve it is to have some long-term solutions.” Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said talking about the subway had been hypothetical because of the prohibition on federal dollars for the work. but as the state and federal funding options open, now might be time. “There is no alternative for that part of this region for mass transit other than underground,” Yaroslavsky said. “It’s going to take time because it’s exceedingly expensive and it shouldn’t come at the expense of other projects around the region.” Still, the subway extension has some critics among the 13-member MTA board, who fear a repeat of the Red Line’s cost overruns and construction problems that drained resources from the rest of the county’s more than 80 cities. Barely more than campaign rhetoric a year ago, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s “subway to the sea” gained momentum Thursday as the MTA board warmed to the idea of marshaling resources behind a $4.8 billion Red Line extension through the Westside. Despite continued criticism that a Wilshire subway would “rob” transportation funds from the rest of Los Angeles County, a growing number of MTA board members agreed that if a costly subway should be built anywhere, it should be under Wilshire Boulevard, where it was initially envisioned 20 years ago. Now that the state is considering $12 billion in transportation bonds and Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Los Angeles, has reversed his longstanding opposition, Villaraigosa and his supporters see the chance to kick-start the project that experts agree would need help from Sacramento and Washington, D.C. “There is a real need and it will impact the entire region for us to look at this subway. That’s all were doing right now… we’re looking at it,” said Villaraigosa, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. Supervisor Michael Antonovich called the subway a “drain to the sea” and said it could “cripple” the region’s transportation program. “If somebody wants a more elaborate system, let them utilize their (resources)… but not rob the other 80-plus cities and unincorporated communities of their needs to have affordable, efficient, cost-effective transit programs,” he said. Supervisor Don Knabe also raised concerns that the subway would take priority over other projects that have been in line for funds. “We have a lot of unique needs here in Los Angeles County, the entire basin, besides subways and rail, that we can’t forget about. There has to be this program as were moving forward (so) we don’t get sidetracked.” Lisa Mascaro, (818) 713-3761 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img