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Comment of the Week: This is Why There's No LAX Train

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Photo by alistairmcmillan via Flickr

In response to a comment in yesterday's piece, Train to LAX Getting Closer, Metro Doesn't Want It, Kymberliegh Richards writes a good history of what happened and why. Richards runs a website called the San Fernando Valley Transit Insider as well as a Metro San Fernando Valley Governance Council member and a board of directors member at the Southern California Transit Advocates.

I always love seeing people who say the Green Line to LAX "should have been done in the first place" as if there was some deficiency in the thought process. With even the smallest amount of research, one can discover that the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission (one of the two predecessor agencies to today's Metro) originally intended the Green Line to operate to the transit center on 96th St. just east of LAX, but other agencies got in the way. Notably, the FAA claimed that the overhead power wires would pose a hazard to aircraft on approach to runways, even though those wires would be not much higher off the ground than the rail vehicles!

It is a testament to LACTC's desire to have the LAX connection that, even after they acquiesced to the pressure and realigned the Green Line to El Segundo, they left in the branch foundation just west of Aviation Station in the hopes that it would still go to the airport someday.

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The problem with a Green Line construction authority is that -- unlike the authority that built the Gold Line to Pasadena or the one that is presently constructing the Expo Line -- the Green Line is not in line yet for [b]any[/b] funding and therefore Metro is right in saying it would place the project in competition with the rest of the projects in the region which already have designs ready to go. Much as I like Jenny Oropeza, she is putting the cart before the horse, just as the bill that was introduced (and failed) last year did. Before we create a new layer of bureaucracy over this worthwhile project, we need to make sure it is included in the Metro Long Range Transportation Plan (for which the comment period ends next week), and ranked high enough that it becomes eligible for funds. It is the LRTP that the state and federal funding authorities look at when they are deciding what gets the money.