Metro official overseeing projects resigns

An interesting development today: Rick Thorpe, Metro’s chief capital management officer, resigned from his position at Metro. Thorpe, however, is staying on as the CEO of the Expo Line Construction Authority.

In his Metro job, Thorpe was in charge of overseeing (among other things) the rail projects that Metro is building. Although he declined comment about the exact reason he was leaving, in his resignation letter to Metro CEO Art Leahy, Thorpe wrote “Recent events have made it clear that I’m no longer effective in that role, and as such, I am tendering my resignation from those duties.”

At Thursday’s Board meeting, Board member and County Supervisor Gloria Molina publicly raised concerns that she did not believe the new Eastside Gold Line Extension was as safe as it should be and she singled out Thorpe as someone that she clearly had issues with. Thorpe declined comment to me about the exact reasons he was leaving his Metro position.

Thorpe, however, also sent the Metro Board of Directors a letter Wednesday addressing Molina’s concerns. Excerpt:

“Light rail by definition operates primarily at-grade, and while there are inherent risk with any transportation system operation at-grade, be it cars, buses, trains, etc., the Eastside project as designed is safe. If it was not, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates light rail safety in the state, would not have approved our design, nor would they allow the system to open.”

Molina’s office has not issued a comment on Thorpe’s resignation.

The L.A. Times also published a story Tuesday on Molina’s comments about the Eastside Gold Line.

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