MTA Decision on Funds

* Many members of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board continue to talk the talk without walking the walk when it comes to the transportation needs of the transit-dependent passengers of L.A. County. Perhaps more shocking is that The Times has endorsed this neglectful policy (editorial, Nov. 11).

The goals of a transit system must be to move the most people at the lowest cost and to connect the transit dependent to the social and economic opportunities throughout Los Angeles (not just in members’ respective districts). The new “rapid bus” service proposed by MTA Chief Executive Julian Burke is the only significant countywide transit improvement that the MTA can afford in the next six years.

But the subway backers rejected funding any part of the proposed rapid bus service, instead setting aside $220 million for projects in the Eastside and Mid-City areas. The fact is that none of the subway (and for that matter other rail) alternatives for the Eastside, Mid-City and San Fernando Valley can be funded in the next six years. There simply is not enough money. Even if the MTA had the money, the combined rail lines would carry three times fewer people for 10 times the cost.

Yet, despite efforts by me and some board members, the majority of the board has been dragged kicking and screaming by Burke into approving even the most basic investments in the current bus system. These are the same members who have run up the MTA’s debt pursuing their subway vision. The current debate is more than a bus-versus-rail question. It is about whether the MTA board wants to provide viable transit improvements in the next six years, or whether it prefers to make passengers wait decades to connect the most dependent parts of the county with rail.



Mayor of Los Angeles

Chairman, MTA Board