Letter to the editor, Daily News, October 24, 1998
(Portions of my original letter omitted from publication are highlighted in underlined italics.)
It is ironic that the ballot issue in 1980 which began the Metro Rail project carried the same designation as Zev Yaroslavsky's proposition to try to undo part of it. The original Proposition A created sales tax revenue to finance the construction of an extensive rail network, including subways where other forms of rail would not be feasible.
The Los Angeles County Transportation Commission wisely foresaw that certain corridors such as Wilshire Blvd. would not be able to easily support at-grade or elevated rail, and proposed those corridors as subway. It should also be noted that the map provided by LACTC at the time of the original Prop A showed the subway continuing underneath Lankershim Blvd. to Sun Valley.
The new proposition wants to remove subway as an option forever and ever, and in the process remove from consideration many corridors which need rail service but not be able to support the infrastructure for other types of rail.
The MTA board of directors has already, on its own, halted all rail construction beyond the completion of the Red Line to North Hollywood, until such time as the agency's financial health permits it to seek funding for further rail lines.
Why, should that happy day ever happen, should the hands of whoever is sitting in those directors' chairs be tied from exploring all options?
However convenient it is to point the finger of blame at the MTA for all the problems of Metro Rail, it must be remembered that they inherited these projects when the state merged the LACTC and the Rapid Transit District.
If MTA has made mistakes in trying to manage this project, the roots of those mistakes are in the history of the LACTC. Now that MTA is trying to better manage this project, they should have access to every means of rail construction possible.
A "yes" vote on Proposition A will essentially doom some areas of Los Angeles County, where subway is the only viable option, to no rail transit forever.