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Los Angeles May Upgrade Orange Line BRT to Rail

The San Fernando Valley's Orange Line bus rapid transit enjoys solid ridership. For an area of the city especially under-served by trains, investing in light rail might be a viable option.
April 22, 2015, 7am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Since its opening in 2005, L.A. Metro's Orange Line bus rapid transit "has since become the busiest bus route in the Valley, carrying about 30,000 riders a day between Chatsworth, Warner Center and North Hollywood. That's a sign, advocates say, that it's finally time for the busway to become a rail line."

Los Angeles is in the midst of a transit rail renaissance, with several lines currently in the works. But service remains patchy in many areas. "Some elected officials and advocates argue the county's rail-building boom over the last three decades has shortchanged the Valley, home to nearly 20% of county residents. The sprawling and largely built-out suburb, with its own large employment and commercial centers, has just two of Metro's 80 rail stations."

BRT infrastructure already in place (such as bridges able to bear trains) will reduce the upgrade's overall cost by about 25 percent. Still, finding the funds will require another local tax bump. "Money for such a project was not included in Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects passed by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. That measure has provided local financing for the bulk of the county's recent rail construction."

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Published on Monday, April 13, 2015 in Los Angeles Times
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