"Metrolink was put together because Southern California was not moving far enough or fast enough to build a comprehensive passenger rail transit system, like BART in the Bay Area," writes Bill Fulton, a frequent Metrolink rider. "BART currently operates in four counties and is planning to penetrate a fifth. It's a heavy-rail subway system, though it runs above-ground in some places. It operates on its own right-of-way in a seamless fashion."
"L.A. rail transit system, on the other hand, has been stitched together with a motley combination of rights-of-way and technologies. There's a backbone subway line (the Red Line), but there are also a lot of incompatible light-rail lines. And building new lines to the outlying counties has, up to now, simply not been in the cards."
In November, Los Angeles County voters will consider a sales tax to fund transportation system improvements, and Ventura County voters could make a similar decision in 2010. Even those revenues, however, might not be enough.