MTA's $1.9-Billion Plan Approved by State

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority won state approval Tuesday for a six-year, $1.9-billion plan designed to help keep subway construction to North Hollywood on track and to fund other projects, including the Alameda Corridor and freeway carpool lanes.

The California Transportation Commission's approval of the MTA's spending plan was an important step forward in transit chief Julian Burke's efforts to keep a promise to federal officials to open the North Hollywood subway extension by 2000.

With the state allocating an additional $134 million for the subway extension, the MTA can turn its attention to lobbying Congress to provide $100 million in federal funds this year for the project.

Funds for the project come from state and federal gas taxes.

The spending plan also is an example of the influence of politics on transit decisions. MTA officials could have used the money to restart one of the rail projects mothballed this year. But MTA officials, already criticized by some for spending too much of the money on the subway, saw a need to provide a mix of transportation projects--including highway improvements--and to spread them around the county.

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