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New Transport Plan: Too Westside?

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's new 30-year "Long Term Transportation Plan" has a lot for the Westside, but other constituencies aren't thrilled.

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The L.A. Weekly reports on the plan, and the controversy:

when the MTA several days ago approved its eye-popping $298 billion, 30-year Long Range Transportation Plan, with Measure R's $40 billion sales-tax injection as its engine, it was an unpleasant surprise for many. Critics say the day-to-day needs in densely packed Los Angeles County were swept under the bus in favor of vanity projects that include not one, but two trains to Santa Monica....

To some, it reflects Villaraigosa's ego and desire for a monument -- the "subway to the sea" -- to himself.....

The majority of L.A. County's transit users take bus lines, which are far cheaper to expand and -- unlike totally inflexible rail lines -- are extremely easy to reroute when populations and jobs shift. Existing rail in L.A. is already being heavily subsidized, and despite all the hype, existing lines are underutilized.....

The plan remains just that--a plan--and not a done deal, and politicians outside the MTA and Villaraigosa circles are doubtful it's the right move:

The plan is essentially a vision statement by the current politicians on the MTA board; it's also an official hope that the unknown politicians who control the MTA board five and 10 years from now will raise $298 billion by 2040, and will spend that money to fund the current board's vision....

....the Long Range Plan's emphasis on a Westside subway that does not actually go near the sea and a Westside light rail that may not ever reach Santa Monica was so pronounced that members of Congress, Sacramento legislators, and the Bus Riders Union pressured the MTA's board to agree to protect non-Westside projects.

A rare bipartisan delegation of Southern California congressional representatives urged "a more inclusive, regional and long-term strategy" than the Villaraigosa-favored blueprint. Several state senate and assembly members argued in a separate letter that with the new sales-tax bite affecting all county taxpayers for the next 30 years, not just Westsiders and L.A. urbanites, the plan "must be geographically representative of the entire region."

Streetsblog on Villaraigosa's late October announcement that he wants to speed up Measure R transportation spending from a 30-year plan to a 10-year one.

Ted Balaker of the Reason Foundation (which owns Reason magazine, where I work) on how L.A. would be better off spending transportation money on freeways than on light rail.

The image associated with this post was taken by Flickr user Daniel Greene. It was used under user Creative Commons license.

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