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.

"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.

Full Story: Will Metro L.A. Pay The Piper On Metrolink?

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