BREAKING NEWS: CPUC Approves All Expo Phase II Crossings

Earlier today, the California Public Utilities Commission gave the green light to proceed with construction of Phase II of the Expo Line.  CPUC was widely expected to delay their decision on whether or not the rail/road crossings for Phase II were safe enough and that they wouldn’t cause excess pollution by creating traffic delay.  In a surprise move, CPUC unanimously approved the crossings after Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon removed a “hold” he had placed on the crossing vote.

Even though CPUC is supposed to look at projects on their merit and not consider politics, both opponents and supporters of the Expo Line were lobbying the Commissioners.  The Transit Coalition published a draft letter urging Commissioners to ignore letters by opponents.  At the same time, the Expo Construction Authority itself sponsored a letter writing campaign urging the commission to approve the crossings.

A coalition of community leaders calling themselves Neighbors for Smart Rail were urging the Commission to hold off on an approval vote until they’re appeal of the Expo Phase II environmental documents could be heard.  Their lobbying effort fell short.

Commissioner Simon was one of the Commissioners who had supported forcing a newly designed rail crossing and rail station for Phase I of the Expo Line and explained his change of heart to CPUC staff.  “You forgot one thing. I was an assigned commissioner for Phase 1. I was a much younger man back then.”  The Commission had twice delayed votes on Phase I of the Expo Line and when they did rule ordered an overhead pedestrian bridge for the Farmdale Crossing which later turned into the station built at the intersection of Exposition Boulevard and Farmdale Avenue.

Unless and appeals court overturns a previous ruling supporting the Expo Phase II rail environmental documents, there are no further obstacles preventing construction from beginning.  Phase II of the Expo Line will connect to the soon-to-be-opened Phase I which runs from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City.  Phase II will complete the first rail line between Downtown Los Angeles and Downtown Santa Monica.


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