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Gold Vs. Purple: Advocates Choose Their Trains

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Gold Line Photo by Fred Camino/MetroRiderLA and Metro Subway photo by Kwasi B.

Next week, the Metro board will vote on two very important issues. One will put a half-cent sales tax increase, that would raise funds for public transit, on November's ballot. The other is the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP), a document guiding public transit in Los Angeles County for years to come.

Gold Line advocates, who wish to see the line extend from Pasadena to Azusa (then Montclair, then Ontario International Airport), are asking the board to move the eastwardly extension from the unfunded to the funded portion of the LRTP, according to the LA Times' Road Sage, Steve Hymon. If that happens, they would get an $80 million boost to the $400 million project. San Gabriel Valley officials say they can take care of the rest.

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But the problem comes with the half-cent sales tax increase. If Gold Line gurus don't get what they want, they threaten (in hint form) to advocate for residents to vote down the increase on the November ballot (because, after all, what do they get? Butterfly effects may not be enough). And that constituency base could ultimately fail the measure, affecting transportation funding throughout the region, including the Westside extension (the Purple Line's 'Subway to the Sea' plan).

Then the question comes about funding the Purple Line's proposed extension to the Westside, which Metro has been pushing aggressively (even with their first venture into leveraging action with Facebook). And how will Westsiders and Angelenos gather around Metro funding a line that is known to not carry that many passengers when Wilshire Blvd. is one of the most congested streets in the country? Besides the Lakers (cause they can't), can gold and purple coexist?