Metro chief Art Leahy joins the show with important updates on the Metro’s plans for new highways, railways, and extensions of the existing Orange and Gold Lines.
President Obama's proposed budget included $81 million for two of Metro's projects—$31 million for a subway system downtown dubbed the "regional connector" that would connect the Gold, Blue and Expo lines. The remaining $50 million would go towards extending the Purple Line from Wilshire Boulevard to Westwood. Meanwhile, Metro's Expo line is in its final testing phase, as is Metro's Orange Line extension.
"We're going to open up the Expo Phase I line here pretty soon, Expo phase II is under construction and the foothill extension to Monrovia is under construction," said Leahy. "That work is all funded at the current time. We'll continue to work for additional federal money along with Measure R money for the subway and the connector."
Metro is planning a ribbon-cutting for the Orange Line extension to Chatsworth in June. Leahy says the line currently carries around 23,000 passengers a day and he predicts that, once the 4-mile extension is completed, it will carry around 45,000 people a day.
Metro will have to address another problem: how to keep people from dodging fares. Unlocked turnstiles and lax security have been blamed for the estimated $4 million Metro loses in unpaid fares, but will locking turnstiles really be the silver bullet? How will Metro’s decisions to eliminate some bus lines and significantly reduce others affect its low-income riders, whose numbers are expected to increase in light of rising gas prices? Whatever came of the controversy surrounding the construction of a new station in Leimert Park?
Weigh in with your transit questions and comments.
Arthur Leahy, chief executive officer, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority