Roundup of Board of Directors meeting so far this morning

Among the actions taken so far today by the Metro Board of Directors at their meeting:

•(Item 6) The Board approved a $28-million increase to the budget for the first phase of the Expo Line from downtown L.A. to Culver City, bringing it to $928 million. Staff report

•(Item 3) The Board approved exercising an option with Hyundai Rotem to purchase 20 more rail cars for Metrolink with crash absorption technology for $18 million — money that’s coming from Measure R. The option locks in a lower price for the cars. Staff report

•(Item 4) The Board approved a motion by Director Richard Katz to develop a green building program — i.e. to try to reduce the amount of air pollution and greenhouse gases produced by construction of Metro transportation projects. Motion

•(Item 10) As part of their consent agenda, the Board approved a motion by Director Antonio Villaraigosa to allow students from public and private schools in Los Angeles County to ride Metro for free to and from school-sanctioned field trips and activities during non-rush hour periods. The goal of the program is to encourage more school field trips during a time of stretched education budgets. Motion. The press release is after the jump.

•(Item 5) The Board delayed voting on a motion by Director Ara Najarian calling for Metro to perform a new cost estimate of the 710 gap closure project and for the Metro Board to then vote on whether the project should go forward or not based on this new cost analysis. Najarian, the mayor of Glendale, opposes a tunnel for the 710 to close the gap between Alhambra and Pasadena — although at this stage of planning, Metro is still a long ways from deciding what a gap closure project may be.
Instead, the Board asked Metro CEO Art Leahy to assess the impact of applying such an analysis to all Measure R projects, as proposed by Board Member John Fasana and seconded by Board Member Gloria Molina. Board members wanted to know, in particular, how much of a delay that may cause for different projects. That report by Metro staff will come back to the Board in February.

Metro will Offer Free Rides to Students for School-Sponsored Activities

The Metro Board voted today to allow students from public and private schools in Los Angeles County to ride Metro for free to and from school-sanctioned field trips and activities during non rush-hour periods. The goal is to encourage school field trips, even during this time of stretched educational budgets.

“Schools throughout Los Angeles County are struggling with severe budget challenges and cutting field trip transportation means less opportunity for students to take advantage of museums, programs and events outside school buildings,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board member Antonio Villaraigosa, who introduced the motion.

The new program will not increase Metro operating costs or reduce revenue.

“Because Metro buses and trains have unused capacity during school hours, making free transit available to students is a win-win policy,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

Prior to implementation, Metro staff will determine guidelines for student eligibility, designate days and hours for the program, determine eligible school-organized activities and identify responsibilities of participating school districts or individual schools. Schools will contact Metro to determine eligibility and make arrangements in advance of travel.

“It’s so important that teachers continue to pursue enriching educational opportunities off campus, even when school funds are tight,” said Metro Board Chair and L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe. “We want our kids to get the best possible education and it’s our hope that this new program will help.”

1 reply

  1. This is great news! Any chance that the free public transportation for field trips will be offered this school year?