Is L.A. Willing To Pay For Safe Trains?

Although it is a public transit success, Metrolink was cobbled together with old freight rail lines. It was a relatively cheap and quick way of providing rail service, but its drawbacks have become obvious.
September 16, 2008, 2pm PDT | Paul Shigley
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"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.

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Published on Monday, September 15, 2008 in California Planning and Development Report
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