Having read a lot of the press and comment boards concerning the report by Beverly Hills’ consultants on tunneling safety for the Westside Subway Extension, I encourage those interested to actually read the report itself. Some of the discussion is technical in nature, but I think everyone should make their own decisions about what the report actually says and doesn’t say about Metro’s work thus far on seismic and tunneling safety for the project.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at Tuesday's news conference at Union Station about high-speed rail.
Interesting news conference by Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday, with LaHood and Metro officials touting the California high-speed rail project. It’s interesting that even in the face of much criticism from Congress, the Obama Administration is sticking with its high-speed plan. And it’s also interesting that LaHood visited Metro’s largest rail station six days before the release of the 2013 federal budget, which will hopefully include funds for local transportation projects.
Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.
L.A. County Polling Place (Photo Credit: Southern California Public Radio)
It is estimated that more than 200 languages are spoken in L.A. County. To help more of these new Angelenos participate in electoral politics, the Los Angeles County’s registrar-recorder’s office is getting ready to add five new languages to the County’s voter information. The five languages to be added are Hindi, Khmer, Thai, Bengali and Gujarati. According to a news release from the registar-recorder, L.A. County is now “the most linguistically diverse jurisdiction in the nation.” The addition of the five Asian languages reflect a demographic shift in California, where between 2000 and 2010 the growth of the Asian American population outpaced Latino population growth. Within the pool of Asians moving to the U.S., Indian Americans represent the fastest growing Asian group in the country.
In a sign that may signal just how important transit has become to the region, California State Assemblywoman Norma Torres (D-Pomona) has introduced a bill that would authorize the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension to go beyond the Los Angeles County line east of Claremont. The measure would also allow Metro to operate part of the Gold Line in San Bernardino County. The bill is necessary because the state law authorizing the line’s extension limits the project to Los Angeles County. Assembywoman Torres hopes to see the line extended from Azusa to Montclair in San Bernardino County. Claremont’s mayor supports the proposed change and wants the Gold Line eventually to connect with Ontario International Airport.
For now there is no funding for additional stations beyond the extension to Azusa currently under construction.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood was in Los Angeles on Tuesday and held a press availability at Union Station with local officials — including Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa — to discuss California’s high-speed rail project.
“For me this is an easy one,” Villaraigosa said. “We need to get on this train and we need to stand by the proposition that California needs to lead the way” when it comes to high-speed rail.
Secretary LaHood echoed those comments, saying that the next generation of Americans will get around on high-speed rail, the reason that President Obama has pushed the issue. LaHood also praised California for being a leader by planning on a system with trains that will travel far faster than other high-speed rail projects in the U.S.
The city of Beverly Hills has released a report by their consultants Exponent on subway tunneling under the Beverly Hills High School campus for the Westside Subway Extension. The report will be discussed at a meeting of the Beverly Hills City Council this afternoon; the Council meeting can be viewed on some computers by clicking here.
The following is a letter from Metro CEO Art Leahy to Beverly Hills Mayor Barry Brucker concerning the Exponent report:
Here are a pair of legislative alerts posted Monday.
From Metro’s government relations staff:
U.S. Senate Finance Committee Poised to Act on Surface Transportation Bill
Tomorrow, the U.S. Senate’s Finance Committee, under the leadership of Max Baucus (D-MT), is slated to consider the Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012. This legislation is designed to provide full funding for the transit, highway and safety programs that have been reported out of the Senate Environment and Public Works, Banking and Commerce committees. It is anticipated that over $10 billion in additional revenues will be needed to fund the two year surface transportation bill slated for full Senate consideration perhaps as early as this Thursday. Please click here for an overview of the Highway Investment, Job Creation and Economic Growth Act of 2012.
And from Metro CEO Art Leahy:
Metro Expresses Concern Regarding Congressional Plans to End Link Between Highway Trust Fund and Mass Transit Account
Today, I sent correspondence to the Chairman and Ranking Members of the House Ways and Means Committee expressing our agency’s concern regarding language in the recently adopted American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Financing Act of 2012 that would end the transfer of motor fuel taxes to the Federal Highway Trust Fund’s mass transit account. This language, if adopted into law, would compromise the longstanding practice of using motor fuel taxes to pay for federal transit projects and programs. We have shared a copy of our correspondence with all members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation. Our agency will be working with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, the American Public Transportation Association and other local, state and federal mobility stakeholders to oppose efforts by Congress to weaken the mass transit account. Please find here a copy of my correspondence on this matter.