Federal audit: Metro failed to research effects of fare hikes, service cuts

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A recent audit by the Federal Transit Administration found that Metro failed to adequately research the effects of certain key fare hikes and service cuts on customers. They also criticized Metro for failing to reach out to non-English-speakers and for cutting corners on environmental assessments.

Metro released a statement Friday in anticipation of the findings, saying they're already "taking corrective steps" to appease the FTA, a major source of its funding.

The audit found Metro's LEP Language Assistance Plan, which was made to encourage communication with and assistance for non-English-speaking customers, had not been monitored or updated since 2007. The FTA gave Metro 120 days to submit a new language assessment and an updated plan for providing language assistance.

The audit also concluded that Metro did not always conduct a full environmental analysis on its more major transit projects — including phase one of the Exposition Light Rail Line.

"Metro is advised to more fully document their analysis of the benefits to, adverse impacts on, and related mitigation measures planned for minority and low-income areas to those in non-minority, non-low-income areas to determine if disparities exist and remediation is needed," the audit's authors wrote.

Last September the Metro Board of Directors added Dan Levy, a civil rights compliance officer, to their budget. He is reviewing all of the agency's civil rights policies, and is expecting "about 80 percent of changes"to be implemented by next March.

Changes relating to the language barrier, however, could take up to a year to go through. After all, Littman pointed out, "there are close to 90 languages in Los Angeles."

Audio: KPCC's Brian Watt reports on the audit.