Metro Board meeting underway

We’ll have more coverage of the meeting later.

There has been one change: the item (#54) to consider a $299-million contract for the purcase of new light rail vehicles from Kinkisharyo International, LLC, has been withdrawn.

Other rail car manufacturers voiced concerns about the contract at a Metro Board committee meeting last week.

 

 

House Democrats seek vote on Senate Transportation Bill

Earlier today, local officials also called on the House to vote on the bill, which contains elements of Metro’s America Fast Forward program to provide federal loans for large transit project. Here’s the update from Metro’s government relations staff:

Over 80 Democrats are urging Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to bring to the House floor surface transportation legislation similar to the Moving Ahead For Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) bill that was adopted last week by the U.S. Senate by a vote of 74 to 22.

The House version of the bill (H.R.14) is being advanced to highlight the continued failure of the U.S House of Representatives to adopt a surface transportation bill that would replace SAFETEA-LU, which expired in September of 2009. Very shortly, the House is expected to consider legislation that would extend, for the ninth time, America’s surface transportation programs for another 90 days.

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On Transportation: March 21 column

The Westwood/VA Station entrance will be just east of Bonsall Avenue. Click to enlarge.

WESTWOOD/VA STATION: For obvious reasons, a lot of attention has been paid to the Westside Subway Extension’s Century City station and the subway alignment in Beverly Hills. There’s no need to belabor those issues here.

But one of the more overlooked stories involving the subway project involves the Westwood/VA Hospital station. In the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report, released Monday, Metro staff recommend placing the station on the south side of Wilshire Boulevard, just east of Bonsall Avenue and just west of the 405 freeway.

This is the last station on the line. Why? Measure R and Metro’s long-range plan have funding for the subway to reach Westwood but not beyond. It’s a tough situation because not much farther west, just beyond San Vicente Boulevard, are thousands of residents — many of whom will probably want to use the new train.

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Update on Gold Line Foothill Extension rail yard and Iconic Bridge

Habib Balian, the CEO of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, send the following email on Wednesday afternoon to community members following the project that will extend the Gold Line for 11 miles from Pasadena to Azusa:

This morning, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michelle Rosenblatt conducted a hearing in the Authority’s eminent domain case with the City of Monrovia and the Successor Agency to the Monrovia Redevelopment Agency. The hearing was the next step in the eminent domain process and concluded with the judge issuing an Order of Pre-judgment Possession. This Order provides the Authority full control over the property, and results in the Authority controlling more than 50 percent of the land needed for the project’s maintenance facility (the Authority will have control of 100% of the property in the coming months).

As you recall, this was one of two conditions placed on the Authority by Metro before full funding would be released for the project. Today’s Order satisfies that funding condition and allows the Authority to issue a Full Notice to Proceed to the project’s design-build contractor Foothill Transit Constructors – a Kiewit Parsons Joint Venture, keeping the project on schedule for construction completion in 2015.

 

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Officials push House of Representatives to (finally) pass a transportation spending bill

Metro officials joined labor and business leaders on Wednesday morning at a rally along the Orange Line Extension in Chatsworth to urge the U.S. House of Representatives to pass a two-year transportation spending bill.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa, Metro Directors Richard Katz and Mel Wilson and Metro CEO Art Leahy all participated.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that includes key elements of Metro’s America Fast Forward plan that would provide federal loans to local transit agencies to build projects.

The Mayor and other speakers noted that America Fast Forward (AFF) enjoys national bipartisan support and that federal low interest loans — combined with local taxes such as Measure R — could accelerate the construction of transit and highway projects to spur the economy and create jobs.

At the same time, taxpayers benefit because we can beat inflation, take advantage of competitive bids in the current market and have projects completed much sooner.

Expo Line maintenance facility

A key part of the Expo Line Phase 2 project is a new rail car maintenance facility in Santa Monica, located east of Stewart Street and north of Exposition Boulevard.

While designs are being finalized for the maintenance yard, this presentation was given by the Expo Line Construction Authority earlier this year. I wanted to post it here because it’s one snazzy-looking rail facility [pdf here] and I don’t think many people have seen these drawings yet.

The two images above come from the following PowerPoint presentation on the facility. The second phase of the Expo Line between Culver City and Santa Monica is a Measure R-funded project.

Expo Line maintenance facility

Regional Connector final environmental study scheduled to be considered by Metro Board on Thursday

Metro’s Regional Connector planning staff just sent this email to interested parties:

Regional Connector on Metro Board of Director’s Agenda

The Regional Connector Transit Corridor Study Final EIS/EIR is included as Item #56 on the Metro Board of Director’s March 22, 2012 agenda.  This meeting is scheduled to begin Thursday morning at 9 a.m. at Metro Headquarters. Please follow the link to view the meeting agenda.

Recently, Metro has been invited to meet with representatives from the Financial District and Japanese Village Plaza to evaluate construction methodologies that address stakeholder concerns. This is an important step by the project team to evaluate optimum methods to mitigate impacts specified in the environmental document.

We will advise you if we are notified of any changes to the agenda.

Thank you for your continued interest in Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.

The Regional Connector Team