Preview of Thursday’s Metro Board meeting

pdf here

The Metro Board of Directors meet at 9:30 a.m. for their regular monthly meeting at Metro HQ, adjacent to Union Station. As always, the meetings — held in the third floor Board Room — are open to the public and will be livestreamed.

Among the items the Board are scheduled to tackle:

•The big ticket item will be a staff report on development of a funding plan for the “Reimagining L.A. County” plan formerly known as the “Twenty-Eight by ’28 Plan,” the Board-approved policy to build 28 major projects in time for the Olympics and Paralympics in our region in 2028. In plain English, this is the item that involves congestion pricing.

Long story short: 20 of the projects are due to be done by 2028 and about $26 billion would be needed to finish the other eight by then.

At this time, staff are asking the Board this month to approve a list of projects considered “sacred cows.” In other words, projects whose funding can’t be used for the “Reimagining Plan.” Staff also want the Board to authorize Metro to pursue a White House Task Force on the Olympics that could potentially shake loose some federal funding.

Staff are also going to show the Board a list of potential sources of new revenue. Among those: fees on Uber Lyft rides, fees on ‘New Mobility’ devices (such as electric scooters) and congestion pricing. The idea would be to launch a study of congestion pricing and then test it somewhere. I’m wild guessing that we’ll likely hear some reaction to the Board — unless all 13 Board Members contract laryngitis simultaneously during the meeting.

An actual funding plan for the “Reimagining L.A. County” plan is scheduled to come back to the Board in February. Staff report with attachments

•On the subject of congestion reduction through performance-based pricing, the Board has two items to consider involving the ExpressLanes. 

The first item would authorize staff to develop a plan for dealing with recent congestion and reliability challenges in the I-10 ExpressLanes by raising the toll-free occupancy requirement to five persons or more.

The change is expected to improve transit on-time performance, increase ExpressLanes peak period throughput by 600 persons each weekday, and ensure that the ExpressLanes remain a fast alternative to the general purpose freeway lanes to the drivers when they need it most.

Preliminary analyses indicate a net benefit of $3.7 million per day to the users of the corridor in the form of delay savings, though this includes an average increase to travel times in the general purpose lanes of approximately four minutes. Staff is exploring strategies for mitigating any potential negative impacts of this policy on corridor users, including low income commuters.

Staff would also return to the Board upon completion of the implementation plan, at which time the Board can review the plan and decide how to proceed. Staff report

The second item would authorize staff to implement a “pay as you use” payment option that allows motorists to use the ExpressLanes without a FasTrak transponder. For those without transponders, cameras would photograph the vehicle’s license plate and the registered owner would receive an invoice in the mail for the toll cost plus a $4 surcharge to cover the added processing cost.

As with other comparable toll payment options offered by other agencies across the nation, including the Golden Gate Bridge in the Bay Area, customers using this “pay as you use” method would not be eligible for carpool discounts or clean air vehicle discounts. Staff report 

•The Board will consider whether to director Metro’s CEO to finalize negotiations with the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority to help get the first segment of the project to Pomona instead of La Verne.

Long story short: the total cost of building the project from its current terminus in Azusa to Montclair is an estimated $2.1 billion. Due to rising construction costs, the Authority is short $570 million, thus the decision to build the project in segments, with the first ending in La Verne.

The Metro Board, however, wants to see the first segment get to Pomona, where riders could transfer between the Gold Line and Metrolink. That would cost about $230 million. Metro staff have identified ways to fund it, including value engineering (looking for ways to trim the project, in plain English) and using local monies from Measure M.

This is a step to keep the process moving forward. Staff report.

•Here’s a sort of interesting report from Caltrans on movable barriers that could be used for directional lanes — i.e. adding a lane or two at peak hours. It’s just informational — nothing is on the table at this time. 



Categories: Policy & Funding, Projects

10 replies

  1. It’s a fact. Angelenos need to know how this CEO really is. County tax payers need to know.

    Really another two years of him?
    Like how that was closed session.
    Show us what he makes.
    Work for everyone at metro, be there for everyone, not just for your people up in gateway.
    And fix the fare structure? For what? People don’t pay. People use the “I work or I know someone who works for Metro, I don’t have to pay.” Phil Washington get your act together and do what’s best for your operators, not for who you want. Operators are not a “Farm,” they are the actual hard working men and women that get treated like crap from the complaints of passengers on the street. Make them feel safe first before yourself. You don’t deserve a dime until all operators feel safe to be on the road.

      • $326,789 a salary for a person that is running a major agency, and forgets about the smaller people that he steps on underneath him. Without any operators, customer service agents, service attendants and so on.. he’d have nothing to be proud of. They are the working force, he just flicks a pen and does nothing to show himself to all who work for the county.

        Steve, you let the “Metro CEO,” know that he needs to step up and be visible to his actual valuable employees, not people who he thinks are a farm.
        He needs to spend more time being involved in the valuable positions than those inside of Gateway.
        Be a real CEO, and prove yourself to all LA County taxpayers that you care for everyone and not who you choose too.

        By the way, have him fix the security for all operators, instead of wasting money and time.

  2. Steve, you have to make every single vehicle to pay the same tolls while using the expresslanes. Seriously I realized that many drivers “CHEAT” the system by setting the transponder to 3 even they do not have three people inside and they can pay ZERO to use it. Therefore, the best way to have every people to pay the tolls is to charge all vehicles the same rate with the only exemption of buses/coaches, passengers vehicles with “CA Exempt” or “USA Government” license plate, emergency vehicles, and Metro vanpool vehicles. Other I would say make it more expensive to use it, currently riding the SLV line costs $2.50 and parking costs $2. It costs $7 per day for people who park and ride the bus, and it is much CHEAPER to drive even using the expresslanes. Also consider to covert the portion of the expresslanes between 710 to Union Station to bus only lane because it always gets congested due to one single lane. Therefore, if redirecting the new expresslanes along the freeway median between 710 to 101, vehicle can no longer pack into one single lane along the busway and thus make the express buses run more sufficiently.

    • Hi Frederick —

      What you’re describing is basically the premise of the pilot program in development for the 10 ExpressLanes — everyone pays with the exception of transit buses and vanpools. If the pilot is ultimately approved by Metro’s Board, that should make taking transit less expensive than driving the EL for more people.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. Steve, unless the MTA expects to remove miles of sidewalks along both Sunset Bl. and Santa Monica Bl there is no way to increase the capabilities of both streets to accommodate the increase in traffic volume that is a guaranteed to happen. Currently traffic is at a virtual standstill each day, exactly what do they think will happen during the Olympic’s? The text book wanna be’s have failed to propose a solution. Hope will not solve the problem, prompt and aggressive action is the answer.

    • Sorry, but I disagree. They could do bus lanes or reversible lanes or work with area businesses on adjusting hours of workers. And, to repeat, the goal is to get the Purple Line Extension open to Westwood by 2027. The athlete’s village is set to be at UCLA but there are only a few athletic events on campus. I think the area will handle it.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. The MTA is going to look pretty stupid when two of the main east-west corridors to the westside and UCLA are totally grid locked during the Olympics because they failed to address the issue in a timely manner. I don’t care how many buses they lease or pull out of storage if they can’t move the attendees will be extremely upset and disappointed. We were able to get past this problem during the ’84 Olympics with the expertise the RTD had in transit but said expertise is long gone now replaced by text book wanna be’s that have no real transit experience. Those same text book wanna be’s built our first light rail line that has been plagued with problems from the start and has been undergoing a complete rebuild costing billions for the last few years with no end in sight for its ultimate completion. And what is their answer to prepare for the Olympics, build east to Montclair beyond the Los Angeles County line. The Purple Line if completed in time only addresses one corridor while many attendees may not originate their trips from downtown or along Wilshire Bl. but instead within the Hollywood or West Hollywood tourist regions which have many fine hotels with several more under construction and planned that far exceed those within the extended CBD.

    • The first two segments of the Purple Line Extension are under construction — between Wilshire/Western and Century City. Progress is being made to finalize the federal grant for the third section this year. Pre-construction work is underway. The goal is to complete that section in 2027. I think that everyone here is aware that this is a high-priority project for mobility in the region and would be helpful to have during the Olympics. I think there will be other projects and traffic improvements that can be made that will allow folks to get around during the Olympics.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source