Mayor Villaraigosa Discusses Metro Expansion at January’s Move LA Conference
Reacting to a "deluge of constituent concerns about these service cuts," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa declared himself not ready to vote on the proposed "service modifications" at Metro’s Board Meeting earlier today.
The Metro Board is currently scheduled to vote on over 370,000 hours of bus service reductions at April’s board meeting. The cuts would go into effect in June of this year. However, Villaraigosa, along with County Supervisor Yvonne Burke and City Councilman Bernard Parks, presented a motion asking Metro staff for more information before the vote this April.
Specifically, Villaraigosa wants to know the crime rates, transit dependency, alternative transit services that might be available, the distance to alternative services and the expected wait for the alternate services in the areas effected by the service cuts. The Mayor also asked that the staff prepare an alternate set of cuts the board could vote upon in April that would not eliminate service in high crime areas.
"Before we cut service, we need to know who’s effected and what the effect is. Right now we don’t know that," the Villaraigosa concluded.
Supervisor Burke also spoke up about the impact cuts could have on crime. "There are places that at 10 P.M. you shouldn’t be standing at the corner. I don’t want to be responsible for putting people there."
Metro staff seemed unhappy with the Mayor’s proposal. Staff noted that any change in service to an individual line that change operations by more than 25%would have to go through the public process at the service sectors again. Such a process would take six months from start to finish and wouldn’t be ready for June.
The Mayor’s proposal, with friendly amendments added asking the staff to examine access to hospitals and another alternate proposal to save night owl service, passed unanimously. The report will be ready for the Metro Board’s April meeting.
In related news, earlier in the meeting the Metro board voted to move $43.4 million in unspecified funds from the FY 08 Transportation Improvement Program (T.I.P) to CALTRANS. These funds will be used to help fund 5 highway capacity enhancement projects. The Bus Rider’s Union was incredulous that such an item would appear on the consent agenda and asked what MTA projects would be effected by the transfer, but did not receive an answer before the motion passed by consent.
Photo: Damien Newton