Attentive readers know that The Metro Board of Directors voted last month to approve the final environmental report for the Wilshire peak-hour bus lane project, endorsing 7.7 miles of lanes along Wilshire in the city of L.A.
As is often the case in local government, one big vote merely begets another big vote. In this instance, the project also requires two other sets of approvals: one from the city of L.A. and the other from Los Angeles County — as the project will run across city and county land.
The challenge here is to get Metro, the city and the county to all agree to the same 7.7 miles of bus lanes. Do not assume this is necessarily an easy thing to accomplish.
The county seems likely to go along with Metro, as the five County Supervisors also serve on the Metro Board, which voted 11 to 0 for the 7.7-mile option.
The city’s approval process resumes tomorrow afternoon at 2:15 p.m. when the City Council’s transportation committee is set to discuss the issue at City Hall and perhaps vote for a recommendation to the full City Council. The full Council can do whatever it wants with a recommendation — happily accept it or completely chunk it.
If the full Council ends up backing a different option than the 7.7-mile option, then the environmental report will return to the Metro Board to decide what to do next. If everyone agrees on the 7.7 miles — and I think that could happen — then the project goes to the Federal Transit Administration for their sign-off.
That’s important to secure a $23-million grant from the FTA to pay for a healthy slice of the project’s estimated $31.5-million cost.
The weather being nice and all, I think I’ll amble over to City Hall and report back for interested Source readers. I covered the Council for three years — well, tried to — and it might be fun and informative to see what’s happening these days at 200 N. Spring Street.
As for the T-committee, it includes three Council members who have a direct stake in this because the bus lanes would run through their district. They are Bill Rosendahl, Paul Koretz and Tom LaBonge. Rosendahl has said he doesn’t want any bus lanes west of Beverly Hills at this time — he wants continuous lanes across the entire length of Wilshire — while Koretz has said that he’s fine with the 7.7-mile option approved by the Metro Board.