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Plan to Create Rail Project Board Clears Senate Panel

A board of San Fernando Valley residents could plan transit projects for the region but would still have to ask the MTA to pay for them, under a bill approved Tuesday by a state Senate committee.

The proposal is a watered-down version of a bill sponsored by state Sen. Tom Hayden (D-Los Angeles) that would have divided the Metropolitan Transportation Authority into two agencies--one for the Valley and one for the rest of the county.

That bill received scant support from members of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Hayden chose to amend it before bringing it to a vote Tuesday. With the amendment leaving financial control in the MTA’s hands, it passed 7-1, and is expected to face its next test today before the Senate Industrial Relations Committee, Hayden’s staff said.

Under the approved version, a 15-member board would assume responsibility for planning bus and rail projects for the Valley, but the MTA’s board would decide whether to fund the projects.

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Tuesday’s vote paved the way for a legislative showdown between two competing visions for transportation management in the Valley. A second bill, making its way through the state Assembly, would create a Valley “transit zone,” in which a local board, operating under the aegis of the MTA, would likely privatize bus service in the region.


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