Metro Board of Directors take action on several items, including Expo Line Phase 2

The Metro Board of Directors met in downtown Los Angeles for their monthly meeting Thursday morning and took action on several items of interest below. As of 11:45 a.m., the meeting is still in progress and the Board still has items to discuss in closed session.

Please note that Los Angeles City Councilman Tom LaBonge substituted for Board member Jose Huizar — as he has done in the past. And new Board Member Mel Wilson — an appointee of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa — served at his first meeting, replacing Rita Robinson, the former chief of the city’s transportation agency.

•(Item 12) The Directors approved a $1.5-billion funding agreement with the Expo Line Construction Authority for the second phase of the light rail line between Culver City and Santa Monica. The agreement could allow construction of the line to begin later this year.

•(Item 2) The Directors received and filed a preliminary report on the hypothetical costs of building a tunnel in the area of the 710 gap. The report was requested by Board Member Ara Najarian, who at the meeting objected to the report’s methodology. Other Board members and Metro CEO Art Leahy defended the report, noting that no decision has been made to build any project in the area of the 710 gap.

•(Item 10) The Directors approved a motion calling for implementation of a master plan for commercial and residential development at the Rosa Parks/Willowbrook Blue Line station. I’ll post some renderings later today.

•(Item 3) The Directors received and filed a status report on development of a regional fare system. The gist of it: progress is being made on two big issues — converting paper tickets to fare media that will work with the TAP system and creating a system to distribute money collected to all agencies that accept fares paid for by TAP cards.

•(Item 14) The Directors decided not to renew a contract worth $51,000 a month with the firm Manatt, Phelps and Phillips for lobbying services in Washington. Board member Zev Yaroslavsky praised some of the work done by the firm but said that the money would be better spent on other things.

•(Item 15) The Directors approved a motion by Board members Mark Ridley-Thomas and Pam O’Connor asking for a report on how Metro can expand the renewable energy to power existing and new transit lines. Supervisor Thomas said the goal was to make Metro the leader in renewables among transit agencies in the U.S. and several public speakers noted that renewables could save money for Metro.