How to speed up public transit projects: Get the public involved, UCLA report says

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45957 full

Public transit project are taking longer to plan, approve and build. That’s according to a new report out this week from UCLA.

Almost a century ago, it took about two years to plan and construct a mile of a transit project in California. Now, even with modern construction techniques, it takes twice as long to go that mile, says Ethan Elkind, who directs the Climate Change and Business Program at the UC Berkeley and UCLA law schools.

He pins the blame for the delays on over-planning, underfunding and regulations that bog down projects. Elkind urges Southern California commuters to demand answers about slow transit projects from public agencies and public officials. 

“After the Northridge quake in Los Angeles, when part of the 10 Freeway collapsed, that was brought back up right away — it was way ahead of schedule because there was so much public scrutiny,” Elkind said.

Elkind also favors lowering the threshold for voter initiatives that fund transit projects, from two-thirds to 55 percent — but that’s harder than it might sound. It would require amending California’s constitution. 

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