Metro Board Preview: Saved Bus Cuts, East Line Extension Safety, the 710 EIR and More…
This Thursday, the Metro Board of Directors meets for their monthly round of political jousting and infighting. The agenda lacks an issue that is going to pack the Board Room, but there are still some important agenda items that are bound to attract some attention.
The highlight of the meeting could be the debate over funding an environmental study of the 710 Big Dig and other options to “complete” the 710. If nothing else, two members of the Board have publicly stated opposition, Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian and Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar.
The environmental studies will cost at least $37 million dollars and is regularly mocked by environmental groups, both locally and nationally as one of the dumbest projects in the country. We’ve written a lot about this project before, and you can read all about it by clicking here.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Board Member Richard Katz, and County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas propose a targeted hiring program for Metro construction contractors to target areas of high unemployment. This is basically the first step in insuring that Metro dollars from Measure R, Proposition C and other local taxes go to fight local unemployment. There are several things that need to happen before this proposal is finalized, including making sure the final proposal is legal under federal guidelines.
A motion by County Supervisors Ridley-Thomas and Don Knabe instructs staff to delay the closure of a list of bus lines and study ways to improve the efficiency of Lines 126, 177, 202, 442, 607 and 620.
Generally, Streetsblog supports the preservation of bus lines, but a compelling case against this motion is made by Kymberleigh Richards, a member of the San Fernando Valley Service Sector Council, who examines bus lines as part of her appointed position. Richards isn’t just annoyed that the Metro Board is stepping on the Service Sector process, but also outlines why these bus lines are slated for cancellation. I managed to get a copy of her letter to Metro Staff, and you can read it here.
Streetsblog wrote a lot about Metro’s “free transit for field trips” program when it was first proposed and first offered. We’re happy to hear it’s going well, and that it’s going to continue for this school year.
We’ll have some sort of coverage of the Board Meeting later today. How much coverage depends on you (see our poll, posted below.)