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Transit officials launch energy policy, red-light camera review

September 23, 2011 | 11:29 am

A Gold Line train crosses the 1st Street Bridge in Los Angeles and heads for Boyle Heights. Metro plans to extend the line into Ontario. -- PHOTOGRAPHER: Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times
In addition to adopting a sweeping employment program for road and rail projects expected to cost $10 million or more, the Los Angeles County Transportation Authority board this week approved a slew of other initiatives involving renewable energy, red-light cameras, low-performing bus lines -- and the Girl Scouts.

A new energy policy is intended to make it common practice for Metro to consider renewable resources for the operation and construction of projects, and requires the agency to set a goal for renewable energy use.

Board member and Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar, citing the demise of L.A.’s red-light camera program, also introduced a motion asking for a report on Metro’s own red-light cameras that he says cost the agency approximately $3 million each year.

Huizar said he wanted the report before any new action or contracts are approved involving the cameras. Metro officials, he said, want to soon consolidate all three of their camera contracts into one before July 1, 2013.

Metro currently has cameras along parts of the Blue, Gold and Orange rail lines and are expected to implement them along some stretches of the Expo Line when it opens.

“Before we invest millions of dollars in continuing Metro's Red Light Photo Enforcement program, we should first determine how effective the program is, both in terms of safety and cost,” Huizar said in a statement. “We owe it to the taxpayers to study the worthiness of this program.”

The board also decided to reverse course and hold back plans to scrap the 442 bus line and  half a dozen other lines Metro officials said were low performing. Instead Metro will conduct a three-month review to see what measures could improve ridership or make the lines more cost-effective.

One of the less-controversial items was when Metro approved free fares for all Girl Scouts in uniform on Oct. 29 -– at an estimated cost of about $10,000 -– to commemorate their 100th anniversary celebrating “Girltopia” at the L.A. Convention Center.


Diesel era ends for MTA buses

MTA plans security upgrades on rail lines

New bus-tracking technology comes to L. A. County

-- Ari Bloomekatz

Photo: A Gold Line train crosses the 1st Street Bridge in Los Angeles and heads for Boyle Heights. Credit: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times