Board meeting notes

Here are three of the noteworthy actions taken by the Metro Board of Directors at their meeting Thursday:

*A contract worth up to $30.45 million was approved with 21 local tow truck companies to provide Freeway Service Patrols. Item 60 on the agenda.

*The Board decided to restart the process to hire contract lobbyists to work for Metro in Washington D.C. Metro officials said it’s important to have as many voices in the nation’s capitol as possible as the agency pushes for federal funds for a number of projects. Item 69 on the agenda.

*Although mildly contentious, the Board voted 7 to 1 with one abstention to approve a contract worth up to $11.5 million to hire a private firm named InfraConsult to develop models for how public-private partnerships may work for six projects. Item 73 on the agenda.

The projects are the Crenshaw light rail line, the Westside Subway Extension, the Regional Connector, the High Desert Corridor freeway, 710 south improvements and the tunnel to extend the 710 from its terminus at the Los Angeles-Alhambra border to Pasadena.

Several dozen public members asked the Board to vote against the contract, arguing that they do not believe the 710 tunnel is a worthy project and that it would increase traffic and air pollution.

Board of Directors Chairman Ara Najarian abstained because, he said, he does not support the 710 tunnel but thinks that studying private financing for the other projects was appropriate. Board member and Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar voted against the project because he did not believe it was appropriate to study the 710 tunnel until a definite route is chosen — which has not yet happened.

The 710 tunnel is set to receive more than $700 million in Measure R funds, but funding for the rest of the multi-billion project — if it goes forward — has not yet been secured.