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PUC punts Expo Line issues to Dec. 18

December 4, 2008 | 11:44 am

State approval of the two final street crossings on the Expo Line light rail will have to wait at least two weeks: The California Public Utilities Commission this morning punted the decision to  its Dec. 18 meeting in order to have more time to consider the issue.

Here's a little background. The first phase of the Expo Line is currently under construction from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. The PUC has already signed off on 36 of 38 street crossings on the line, but two crossings still need approval -- one outside the Foshay Learning Center and the other outside Dorsey High School. Both are in South Los Angeles.

The gist of the issue is that the Expo Line Construction Authority, which is building the project, says  street-level crossings will be safe, while the Los Angeles Unified School District and some residents say the train will pose a danger to students. Here's a link to a recent Times story that looks at the dispute.

The reason that the PUC's decision is a big deal is that it will  determine how the line will be built at the two crossings. It  could uphold an earlier proposed decision by a PUC judge to build pedestrian bridges, or it  could allow the street crossings. It  could  also demand that the train be put in a trench at both sites or on bridges. The construction authority is saying anything besides street-level crossings will consume more time and money that it  currently doesn't have.

--Steve Hymon