* I commend the Los Angeles Times for the decision to provide a Commentary page forum for the debate over the proposed routes of the Valley east-west Metro Rail line ("Valley Rail: A Link That Also Divides," Aug. 29).
Don Schultz, in his continued misleading comments to gain support for his choice of the Ventura Freeway elevated alternative, cites a $1-billion-plus savings if this proposal is accepted for construction. I must take exception. He elects not to inform the public of the whole story behind the reason that the proposed Southern Pacific Burbank branch alternative increased in construction costs in the first place.
This is the same Don Schultz and the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn. that lobbied and enlisted the aid of the infamous ex-state Sen. Alan Robbins to initiate legislation to specifically block any form of aboveground rail system along the Chandler Boulevard corridor on the east end and along the Oxnard Street corridor on the west end of the Southern Pacific Burbank branch.
This political maneuvering effectively blocked the Metropolitan Transportation Authority from considering a less-costly system of aboveground light rail with elevated grade separation at traffic intersections, such as found on the Los Angeles-Long Beach Blue Line. The MTA had no other option than to consider a subway. This has caused costs to go up.
So if anyone is responsible for the purported difference in cost between the competing alternatives, we have Mr. Schultz and the Van Nuys Homeowners Assn. to thank.
ROBERT L. LOVERIDGE