Other issues taken up by Board of Directors today

UPDATE, FRIDAY, 5 P.M. – I added information after the jump about two other issues not included in the original version of this post.

In addition to the bus service changes and cuts I posted about earlier, here are some other items of interest the Board of Directors of Metro discussed on Thursday (links to staff reports are available on the agenda):

•The Board approved a contract with NextBus for a real-time bus information system. (Item 19)

•The Board approved a contract up to $7.16 million to a private firm to study traffic “hot spots” on the 605 freeway that could potentially be improved under a Measure R project. (Item 32)

•The Board of Directors approved a proposal to hire up to 21 people to help plan Measure R transit and road projects and an amendment by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to also hire an Executive Director of Government Relations. A proposal to increase the salary of the agency’s highway chief to $240,000 was continued to next month. (Item 8)

•The Board approved a motion by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa calling for a plan to be developed to install racks that hold three bikes on buses (funding still must be secured) and to also increase funding for Metro’s call for bike projects. (Item 9)

•A report on schedules for projects that would be accelerated under the 30/10 Initiative was held over until next month’s meeting when the Board of Directors will consider formal policy about 30/10. (Item 31)

•The Board approved a new decorum policy for Board meetings that could prohibit those who have violated the rules from making public testimony to the Board for 90 days. (Item 6)

•The Board approved the issuance of up to $825 million in bonds to help build Measure R projects. (Item 28)

•A proposal to build a pedestrian bridge over Lankershim Boulevard connecting Universal City to the Red Line subway station was withdrawn from discussion at this meeting. (Item 3)

ADDED TO THIS POST ON FRIDAY:

•The Board voted to oppose federal legislation that would raise the liability limit on railroad accidents from $200 million to $500 million. Directors expressed concerns over the retroactive nature of the bill and whether it could hinder getting money to accident victims. Two survivors of the Sept. 2008 Metrolink accident that killed 25 testified to the Board in favor of the bill, saying accident survivors often had to live with injuries or the loss of loved ones for the rest of their lives and the bill would help provide for them. (Item 33)

•The Board voted to support the California Air Resource Board’s staff recommendation of greenhouse gas emission reduction targets of eight percent by 2020 and 13 percent by 2035. The targets are mandated by SB 375, the state law that seeks to encourage better land-use practices. (Item 2)