And here are a few other items the Metro Board took action or discussed on at today's meeting:
•The Board approved issuing a public notice that the Metro Board will seek a change to the technical language of Measure R that is necessary before the Board consider any future project acceleration plan. The change would allow funds to flow to some projects earlier than anticipated — only if those funds are secured. Staff report
•The Board approved a revised draft environmental impact report for the project that would add HOT lanes to the I-5 between the 14 freeway and Parker Road in northern L.A. County. As part of the approval, the Board selected the HOT lanes as the locally preferred alternative for the project.
Quickie background: This is a project that Metro intends to build this decade through a public-private partnership. As originally envisioned, the project would have included carpool lanes. Instead it will now convert the lanes to toll lanes in order to raise the money to pay back a contractor for building them now instead of a completion date of 2040 or later. Staff report
•As the result of a motion by Board Member Mel Wilson, the Metro Board approved increasing the percentage of funding to be spent on pedestrian improvements from 7.5 percent to 10 percent; in the annual call of projects process. And, if there is money remaining that hasn't allocated by the Technical Advisory Committee, it will first go to pedestrian improvements along the Crenshaw/LAX Line corridor. Staff report
•Metro staff gave a brief presentation on fare restructuring requested by Board Member Diane DuBois. It's important to note that Metro's soon-to-be released budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year does not include a fare increase or fare restructuring.
Staff said that the goals of any future restructuring should be to keep fares simple and make fares easy — and possibly time-based so that transfers are included in the base fare.
Staff also showed graphics that explained that Metro's base bus fare of $1.50 is among the lowest in the world — and so is Metro's farebox recovery ratio of 26.3 percent (in other words, fares only cover 26.3 percent of the expense of operating Metro's buses and trains).
Finally, staff showed a graphic that in the future Metro is likely to face an operating deficit if revenues are not increased or expenses reduced. There was little Board discussion.
Bottom line: There are no fare hikes or changes on the near horizon but it's an issue that will likely be revisited next year.