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L.A. Transit Panel Is Urged to End Battle With RTD

From A Times Staff Writer

State Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys) and City Councilman Nate Holden on Tuesday urged the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission to rescind its bid to seize control of future Metro Rail construction from the troubled RTD, saying continued feuding could jeopardize federal funding for the project.

But Jackie Bacharach, a member of the commission, dismissed arguments that the turf battle has created a funding crisis. “Everybody’s saying the sky is falling and the sky isn’t falling,” said Bacharach, a key advocate of rail projects.

In a press conference at the Metro Rail construction area at Union Station, Robbins and Holden said the commission made a bad situation worse in its vote Wednesday to form a new commission-controlled rail corporation that would take future Metro Rail work away from the Southern California Rapid Transit District.

Robbins, long a critic of the RTD’s bus operations, credited the agency with having kept Metro Rail construction thus far $80 million under budget. Robbins said his defense is “not in any way an endorsement of the RTD . . . but what the LACTC has done is take the one thing RTD has done right, and say we’re going to take it away from them.”

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