In remarks, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti outlines his goals as Metro Board Chair

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti delivering his remarks on Thursday morning. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti delivering his remarks on Thursday morning. Photo by Steve Hymon/Metro.

As noted earlier, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is the Chair of the Metro Board of Directors for the next year. At the start of today’s Board meeting, Garcetti briefly outlined his goals as Board Chair. Here are some highlights from his comments.

•”When you’re talking about transportation, the top priority has to be reducing traffic.   Traffic, especially in Los Angeles, defines our lives. It keeps us from being with our loved ones and enjoying life’s daily moments. But it’s equally important that we provide good service for our customers and build for the future.

“The only way we can do that well is by working together as a region. We all know that traffic doesn’t care about borders. And none of us can serve our constituents well if we only care about what happens inside our city limits.”

•”How we do that? Innovation and technology. That’s not only the obvious things — like having cell service in our stations or creating an app where riders can load their tap cards on their phones so they don’t have to wait in line at the ticket machine.”

•”We must always be looking at where there is new demand and build projects in our most heavily traveled corridors. We must complete projects like the Exposition line all the way to Santa Monica. We must plan to build the Gold Line extension to Claremont. We must improve service between the San Fernando Valley and the Westside. We must make sure the Blue Line is fixed, and our highest [ridership] rail line runs like it once did. And we must find a way to open the train to the planes by the time the Crenshaw Line starts running.”

•”I’m committed to keeping the momentum going on our construction projects — and making sure they’re done on time and on budget. We cannot repeat the cost overruns and sinkholes of the 1990s.

“When I became Mayor, I was told the new lane on the 405 project wouldn’t be open until the fall. So I called an old friend, Nick Patsaouras, and asked him to volunteer his time and talents to get it done sooner. He came through big for us. As Chair, I am calling on him to now lend his expertise and provide construction oversight of the Crenshaw Line.”

•”Over the last year, we were successful in securing over three billion dollars from the federal government. I’m confident that success will continue if we work together across the region to get our fair share from Washington and Sacramento. But we also need to think creatively about public-private partnerships and innovative financing. People are impatient, people can’t wait.”

Metro Board of Directors June meeting is underway; Airport Metro Connector item to be considered today

Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois has dropped the gavel on the June meeting on the Metro Board of Directors. The agenda is above. Click here for the regular online version here with links to staff reports.

If not here in person, you can listen to the meeting over the phone at 213-922-6045. You can try to listen online by clicking here.

For those at the meeting trying to watch the USA-Germany World Cup game over Metro’s wifi…good luck.

Perhaps the item that will interest the most people today involves the Board considering whether to approve a new light rail station at Aviation and 96th Street as the locally preferred alternative as part of the Airport Metro Connector project. The station would serve the Crenshaw/LAX Line and some Green Line trains and would be the transfer point to a people mover planned by LAX that would connect to airport terminals. More at this recent Source post.

The Los Angeles Times published an editorial today on the preferred alternative.

This is Diane DuBois’ final meeting as Board Chair. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti takes over chair duties in July.

 

Public hearing set for May 14 to comment on Metro’s proposed $5.5-billion budget for FY 2015

Here is the news release from Metro and the proposed budget is above:

A public hearing is set for 1 p.m. on May 14, 2014 to hear comment on Metro’s proposed balanced $5.508 billion Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget, set to begin July 1, 2014. The proposed budget includes continued commitment to the largest highway and rail building program in America, bus headway improvements and $283.4 million in maintenance expenditures to keep the system in top form. 

The public hearing will take place during the regularly scheduled meeting of the Metro Board Finance Committee at the Metro Board Room, 1 Gateway Plaza, Los Angeles. The public can view copies of the balanced budget proposal at www.metro.net/fy15proposed or request a copy from the Metro Records Management Center at RMC@metro.net.

The draft FY15 budget enhances many services while keeping fares at low levels, however, a decision on a proposed fare increase to eliminate a projected $36.8 million operating budget deficit by Fiscal Year 2017 is pending the May 22 Metro Board meeting.  

As part of the $283.4 million targeted at maintenance, Metro will spend $192.7 million on bus service including the purchase of 550 new clean-burning CNG buses and about $50 million for rail improvements on the Blue Line and the Red Line subway in the next fiscal year. 

Safety is critical to Metro passengers and the FY15 budget contains $48.7 million to keep the system as safe as possible. Enhancements include improvements to cameras and video monitoring, security kiosks are various rail stations, signal system rehabilitation on the Metro Blue and Green lines and pedestrian safety improvements on the Metro Red Line with an underpass and overpass bridge planned for Universal City and North Hollywood stations. 

Metro continues construction on the most comprehensive public works program in America with Measure R and other funding sources. In FY15, Metro will have five major rail projects either under construction or prepared to begin including the Metro Gold Line extension to Azusa, the Metro Expo Line extension to Santa Monica, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and the Regional Connector. The Metro Purple Line extension to Westwood has cleared major legal hurdles and is expected to receive a federal full funding grant agreement by mid-May. 

In terms of highway projects, the mammoth undertaking of modernizing and expanding capacity of the I-405 will be completed in FY15 and other projects are moving forward including I-5 widening from Orange County to the I-605, the I-710 South Corridor, the North SR-710 study and a variety of other improvements including continuation of countywide sound wall construction and the Freeway Beautification Pilot Project designed maintain landscape and remove graffiti and debris.

The Metro ExpressLanes Project continues to provide travel options on the I-10 and I-110 freeways with future expansion of ExpressLanes to be studied. The Kenneth Hahn Countywide Callbox System continues operation along with development of the Motorist Aid and Travel Information System (MATIS). 

Metro will continue to contribute both operations and capital funding to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority with FY15 capital projects including the Bob Hope Airport/Hollywood Way station, Van Nuys Second Platform, Vincent Grade/Acton and Lancaster Stations, Doran Street Crossing design, Raymer to Bernson Double Track and Southern California Regional Interconnectivity Program (SCRIP), which will increase Union Station Capacity. 

Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.

October meeting of Metro Board of Directors is underway

October Board of Directors agenda

Good morning, Source readers! Metro Board Chairwoman Diane DuBois has just dropped the gavel on the October meeting of the agency’s Board of Directors, the 13-member group that serves as the ultimate deciders for Metro.

The agenda is above. It doesn’t quite have the appearance of being a fall classic — but you never know. That’s why they play the game!

Those who wish to listen to the meeting can phone 213-922-6045.

As per usual, I’ll provide updates later on The Source.

Metro staff report on recommendation for Crenshaw/LAX Line contract is now posted online

Crenshaw/LAX Line contract report

Above is the Metro staff report to the agency’s Board of Directors recommending that Walsh/Shea be contracted to build the Crenshaw/LAX Line light rail project.

Here is our post from Friday explaining the recommendation along with background about the project.

Metro Board OKs plan to continue planning of second and third decade Measure R projects

The Metro Board voted Thursday morning to direct staff to continue planning on second- and third decade Measure R projects — the idea is have projects ready to be constructed if funds become available to accelerate them.

Click above to see larger.

Click above to see larger.

The Board also approved the following amendment by Board Members Diane DuBois, Gloria Molina and Mel Wilson:

Here is a recent post about this item, along with the staff report.

Agenda for Thursday's Metro Board meeting

And the usual reminder that the Metro Board of Directors is back in action Thursday for their first full meeting since early August. The meeting begins at 9 a.m. in the Board Room on the 3rd floor of Metro headquarters adjacent to Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. It is, as always, free and open to the public.

If you would like to listen in by phone, please call 213-922-6045.

The meeting agenda is below or download here (pdf). The item that seems to be getting the most attention is the contract with CBS Outdoor to supply advertising on Metro buses, trains and other properties.

Sept Metro Board Agenda

Metro report offers initial look at impacts of bus service changes

Metro’s Board of Directors previously asked staff to prepare a report on the cumulative impact of bus service changes made by the agency between 2007 and 2011. A preliminary report by staff is now available and concludes:

Based on the data collected to date, overall there was a negligible cumulative impact on boardings as a result of the service changes since June 2007, with weekday boardings increasing 1%, Saturday decreasing 1%, and Sunday remaining neutral. Minimizing impacts is largely due to listening to and incorporating public concerns during the planning process, and ensuring there are viable alternatives for existing riders.

A more complete assessment will be presented to the Board in June. I encourage you to read the report – there are a lot of good statistics in there, showing how bus service overall has grown in the county over the past 25 years — in particular service offered by cities and other agencies in L.A. County.

Here is a pdf version for download or you can read the report below.

Service changes report

Hearing concludes on Westside Subway Extension route and station location in Beverly Hills and Century City

The hearing requested by the city of Beverly Hills on the Century City station location for the Westside Subway Extension has now concluded. As expected, the Board of Directors did not take any action on selecting a route for the subway and station location in Century City.

The basic dispute: In order to avoid active earthquake fault zones under Santa Monica Boulevard, Metro staff are recommending a subway route under part of the Beverly Hills High School campus to reach a Century City station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars.

Beverly Hills officials oppose that route, saying it could harm students and would hinder future underground development at the school. Metro says that tunneling can be done safely and would not interfere with future development.

Most of the hearing was dedicated to presentations by Beverly Hills’ consultants, who disputed many of Metro’s studies.

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Measure R extension discussion on Foothill Extension project

This Metro staff proposal to seek voter approval for an extension of the Measure half-cent sales tax past its 2039 sunset was briefly discussed by the Board of Directors’ Executive Management committee on Thursday morning, including some interesting morsels on the Gold Line Foothill Extension project.

Supervisor and Board Vice Chair Mike Antonovich asked for clarification if the extension, as proposed by staff, would fund the Foothill Extension all the way to Claremont. Measure R is currently providing $735 million to fund the first phase of the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to the Azusa/Glendora border.

Metro CEO Art Leahy responded by saying that the language in the existing Measure R ordinance and funding plan is somewhat ambiguous — on one hand defining the Foothill Extension as a project to Claremont but on the other hand only funding it as far as Azusa.

Ultimately, Leahy said, it would be up to the Board of Directors whether to include the second phase to Claremont as part of a Measure R extension. As proposed by staff, a Measure R extension would be used to expand the agency’s ability to sell bonds to accelerate the building of the transit projects funded by the original Measure R.

The Board is likely to vote on whether to take the issue to voters at their June meeting. Here’s a pdf of the most recent staff report, which is also posted below using Scribd.

Measure R extension report