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MTA board delays adopting long-range plan

January 8, 2009 | 11:53 am

Local transportation officials have decided to postpone a vote on a long-range plan that sets timetables for building future mass transit projects, including the long-awaited subway extension to the Westside, according to MTA spokesman Marc Littman.

The vote was supposed to happen at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board meeting later this month. But the board has decided to wait, hoping to see what money may become available for projects after President-elect Barack Obama takes office on Jan. 20. Obama has said he wants to spend billions of dollars on infrastructure projects to create new jobs and put some zip into the nation's economy.

The long-range plan, as I reported in Wednesday's editions of The Times, includes a timetable for constructing the subway that isn't being warmly received by some of its backers, including Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Under the MTA's plan, the subway to La Cienega and Wilshire would open in 2019 with legs to Century City and Westwood debuting in 2026 and 2032, respectively. The plan basically spells out what projects get built when for the next three decades.

MTA officials hope to accelerate that schedule by getting some federal money to go along with money for the subway from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by Los Angeles County voters in November. It also remains to be seen whether officials can find a way to divvy the subway project up into smaller chunks, so that perhaps a leg to La Brea or Fairfax could be opened sooner -- just to show the public something will happen in their lifetimes.

-- Steve Hymon