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Metro's record-setting $4.2-billion budget heavy on L.A. rail projects

May 4, 2011 |  8:16 am

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Los Angeles transportation officials have unveiled the largest budget in the Metropolitan Transit Authority's history, a $4.2-billion plan that reflects the agency's heavy investment in rail projects around the region.

The budget includes money for a slew of rail lines, including the Crenshaw Line in South L.A. that should begin construction next year. The budget has operating funds for the Expo Line, which should open later this year.

There is also money for developing several more rail lines including the so-called "Subway to the Sea" and the "Regional Connector," which would link several existing rail lines through downtown L.A.

“Metro will be advancing one of the largest public works programs in the nation’s history in [fiscal year] 2012, with a dozen major transit and 15 highway projects in various stages of development,” Metro Chief Executive Art Leahy said in a statement.

Among the highlights:

  • $22 million to operate the first phase of the Expo Line, which is expected to open in November and will run from downtown L.A. to the edge of Culver City
  • $266 million to build the second phase of the Expo Line from Culver City to Santa Monica
  • $43 million to begin construction of the Crenshaw Line
  • $39 million for the Regional Connector, which would run through downtown L.A.
  • $50 million for the Westside Subway Extension, also known as the “Subway to the Sea”
  • $77 million for the Orange Line Extension

Metro officials said the proposed budget is balanced and is the first in about a decade that does not have an operating deficit. There are no fare increases included in the plan, and there is a proposal to reduce the cost of a day pass to $5 from $6 for at least six-months.

The budget, released late Tuesday, is balanced partially because of a slew of bus service cuts planned for June. The cuts include eliminating several lines and an overall 5.2% reduction in the number of hours Metro provides service.

Metro officials said they were able to save millions because of those cuts and that there were alternative transit options available for those riders. Some groups, such as the Bus Riders Union, say those cuts are unnecessary and will hurt riders.

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: The Gold Line headed from downtown L.A. to Pasadena. Credit: Los Angeles Times

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