MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH
Our county’s new Gold Line rail system is successfully playing a
vital role in the realization of our county’s regional transit plan.
However, a ballot measure by Gov. Gray Davis to raise the sales tax
by a half-cent for the budget-busting subway threatens this plan.
The Gold Line can be expanded by utilizing existing freeway
medians and abandoned railroad rights-of-way for a comprehensive
at-grade and aboveground rail system. This would link Los Angeles
County commuters throughout the region to the Ventura County and San
Bernardino County lines.
Combined with a multi-modal transportation system of buses,
commuter rail and highway/street improvements, the Gold Line will
improve productivity, reduce air pollution and increase mobility for
Unlike the $5-billion, 17-mile, gold-plated subway, which took
decades to build, the first phase of the nearly 14-mile Gold Line was
built in a few years for approximately $725 million.
At a cost of $1.2 billion, Phase II will connect the Gold Line to
San Bernardino County and run an additional 24 miles from Pasadena to
Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, Azusa, Glendora, San Dimas, La
Verne, Pomona and Claremont, and could be completed in five years, if
funding was available.
As planning continues on Phase II, we also need to aggressively
work to extend the Gold Line west, with Phases III and IV, through
the San Fernando Valley by connecting the Marengo station in
Pasadena along the 210 and 134 freeways through Glendale to the
Media Center in Burbank with a spur connecting to the Red Line
station in North Hollywood. A Phase IV could be extended along the
101 Freeway corridor to Ventura County. The construction for this
project could be done with less disruption to neighboring residents
and taxpayer pocketbooks.
The vision for a regional rail system serving the entire county --
not just the city of Los Angeles -- is beginning to come into focus,
with the Santa Clarita Valley and Antelope Valley in our sights.
However, the proposed half-cent tax increase ballot measure is a
deceptively attractive package wrapped with smaller transit projects,
to con county taxpayers into paying for a nearly $1-billion, 3-mile
subway extension in the Fairfax district. Vital resources would be
siphoned away from cost-effective projects that give county commuters
and taxpayers more bang for the buck.
Proposed by tunnel-vision vested interests, this measure violates
the law approved by Los Angeles County taxpayers, who overwhelmingly
voted to prohibit further subway construction. This Sacramento ballot
proposal needs to be defeated if Los Angeles County is to implement
cost-effective transit strategies. Our efforts need to be focused on
decreasing congestion, improving air quality, increasing mobility and
enhancing the quality of life for our citizens with cost-effective
* MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH represents the 5th District, which
includes Burbank, on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. He
can be reached at
(213) 974-555 or at fifthdistrict @bos.co.la.ca.us.