Elected Officials, Others Call for Orange Line Conversion to Light Rail

Now that a bill has passed reversing 1991 legislation banning construction of a rail project on the right of way that became the Orange Line, elected officials and other San Fernando Valley leaders are calling for conversion of the Orange Line to light rail, and an extension to the Bob Hope Airport and on to Glendale and Pasadena — to be paid for with proceeds from a sales tax measure likely to go on the 2016 ballot. (At a Metro board meeting yesterday a motion was passed directing Metro staff to develop protocols for adding unfunded projects — such as this proposed conversion and extension — to its long range plan, including an amendment that noted some current projects remain underfunded by the existing Measure R sales tax and should be given funding priority in a new measure.) Move LA's Denny Zane and Beth Steckler concluded the press conference evidenced that there is a very collaborative — not competitive — dynamic characterizing recent discussions about what projects should be included in a future sales tax measure. Below are some of the things said at the press conference, a video of which can be viewed on Metro's The Source HERE.

LA City Councilmember (and Metro boardmember) Paul Krekorian: People who live in the San Fernando Valley are not wedded to their cars! . . . Part of the reason for initiating this dialogue is to figure where the money will come from, and where's the most opportunity for game-changing investments? That's why we're considering a future sales measure.

Glendale City Councilmember Ara Najarian: There are 30,000 boardings a day on the Orange Line!

LA City Councilmember Bob Blumenfeld: We need more capacity on the Orange Line. There are 50,000 jobs in Warner Center and the new specific plan calls for another 40,000 jobs.

LA County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky: In order for the Metro board to know what to put on the ballot we need a well-thought-out list of projects to consider. And that is why we are having that discussion.

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