Welcome to The Transit Coalition weekly
newsletter! Our organization participates in meetings
with key decision makers and community leaders and
our goal is to keep you informed on the latest developments
in the transportation scene across Southern California.
The drive to sell the three infrastructure bond proposals
to the voting public kicked off with a tour by Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger to promote his $222 billion
Strategic Growth Plan. The governor recently came
to the University of Southern California to address
more than 250 business leaders on the importance of
rebuilding California to stay competitive in the global
market. He feared
that if the state does not rebuild the ports infrastructure
promptly, other ports along the Pacific Rim will take
the traffic and economic stagnation would result.
Schwarzenegger will also investigate a pay-as-you-go
method proposed by Republican lawmakers that would
fund critical projects from the General Fund. The
governor also hopes to entice private entities to
and operate toll roads across the state. The talk
of bond money has encouraged local entities to sprout
any ideas on how to be part of the package, as this
proposal to build a freight railway around San
Diego shows. Meanwhile, the San Gabriel Valley Council
of Governments rejected
a proposal to give completion of the 710 Freeway to
Pasadena "top priority", largely because
no funds have been secured for it.
State Senator Don Perata on his part is using a television
advertising campaign to sell his own $13 billion proposal,
Senate Bill 1024, to GOP voters. Democrats such as
Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuñez (who is writing a third
bond measure, Assembly Bill 1783) vowed
to continue working with the governor to fine-tune
all three measures and bring it to voters.
Caltrans is seeking
legislation that would allow the department to rebuild
six seismically unsafe bridges. One of these is the
Ten Mile River Bridge in Fort Bragg. Caltrans plans
to build a new and wider bridge to replace it, but
Friends of the Ten Mile, a local advocacy group fighting
the project, feels it would obstruct
views and encourage speeding onto the narrow State
Highway Route 1. Bridges in Southern California that
failed to make the cut include one in Santa Barbara
and another in the Port of Long Beach. Meanwhile,
the state has finalized plans to build carpool
lanes on the Pomona Freeway (State Highway Route
60), scheduled to open in 2009.
Speaking of Long Beach, this past week has been filled
with port activity. Ports across North America are
growth, though officials fear this growth will
create gridlock if expansion does not proceed. The
Port of Long Beach has prepared "Plan 2020",
which would rebuild
much of the port infrastructure to handle larger
ships and increased traffic. With all this activity,
George Cummings, director of homeland security for
the Port of Los Angeles, urged the completion of a
identification card system for port workers and
a credential program to award said cards.
As this happens, state legislation to curb seaport,
airport and rail yard pollution moves
Bill 1101, which would treat these facilities
as stationary sources of air pollution, was authored
by Jenny Oropeza (D-Carson) and has passed the State
Assembly 42-31. Local port officials are already moving
forward with their own plans to curb pollution. The
LA City Harbor Department reported
improvements in cutting down emissions. Officials
were pleased to report that rail
now transports 24.5% of all port cargo. In a recent
"State of the Port" address, Port of Long
Beach Executive Director Richard Steinke praised
efforts by companies for following the Green Port
Policy, which aims to reduce pollution even further,
although challenges remain.
As State Senator Richard Alarcon continues
his push to regionalize Southern California airports,
officials at Bob Hope Airport revealed record
increases in passengers and flights, largely attributed
to new non-stop flights that serve the airport. The
Los Angeles Daily News took these results as
of public desire to use airports other than LAX. Los
Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa released
criteria to evaluate Airport General Manager Lydia
Kennard. The mayor hopes that his request will reveal
how the manager handles questions of ethics, relationships
with surrounding neighborhoods, and environmental
With regards to alternative fuels, the Los Angeles
World Airports (LAWA) was given five
new hydrogen fuel-cell cars from DaimlerChrysler
to transport airport officials. A refueling station
for the prototype zero-emissions vehicles was also
provided. Hybrid vehicles are all
the rage in Sacramento, as nearly a quarter of
state lawmakers now drive them. In San Diego, country
singer Willie Nelson introduced
the world to "BioWillie", a soybean-based
At the national level, U.S. President George W. Bush
financial assistance for Amtrak in the budget
for FY 07. The Bush Administration proposes $500 million
for "capital needs and maintenance." No
money is slated for operations; instead, the remaining
$400 million will be handed out as "Efficiency
Incentive Grants" in the belief that it will
"encourage reform" as said by US DOT Secretary
Norman Mineta. Last year, Bush proposed no subsidies
for the rail service, but Congress balked at the notion
and instead funded Amtrak with $1.3 billion. The National Association of
Railroad Passengers (NARP) welcomed the boost
in contrast to last year, but expressed its concern
that the proposed amount is nevertheless "
The American Public Transportation
Association released a statement
concerning the decreased funding for new transportation
projects as proposed in the Administration budget
proposal and the possible imposition of fees on Northeast
Corridor commuter trains.
The Center for Transportation Excellence has
set up a page that lists transportation
ballot measures across the country and provides
regular updates on their progress. The center also
published a response
to an op-ed by transit critic Randal O'Toole.
Here is a list of other recent developments:
February 7: The Los Angeles County Board of
plans to renovate 6.5 miles of the 37-mile San Gabriel
River bicycle trail. The trail runs from the foothills
of the San Gabriel Mountains to the ocean. The $380,000
to $450,000 project will be released for bids on February
28, with renovations to be completed this July.
Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed participated
in the bi-monthly City of Los Angeles Bicycle Advisory Committee.
Michelle Mowery, Bicycle Program Manager, updated
participants on various activities regarding bicycle
travel, including participating in the development
of the State Highway Safety Plan, the Metro bicycle
plans to be approved by the Metro Board, and a Request
for Proposals to create a new bicycle map covering
Los Angeles. Michael May, transportation engineer
for bikeways, presented board members with an update
on bikeway projects across Los Angeles.
February 9: Mayor Villaraigosa and other public
officials rode a
preview of the new Gold Line Express service (which
made its debut on Monday, February 13). Metro officials said
the new service will cut five minutes off end-to-end
travel time by stopping at five of the 13 Metro Gold
Line stations: Union Station, Highland Park, Mission,
Del Mar and Sierra Madre Villa. Trains are marked
with a "limited stop" sign on the front
of cars. However, passengers, transit advocates and
some of Metro staff have shown concern about the service,
as The Transit Coalition reported.
February 10: Mobility 21 held
a Special Coalition Meeting at the new Caltrans District
7 Administration Building in Downtown Los Angeles
to discuss the three state bond proposals. Speakers
included Wendy Gruel, LA City Councilmember; Earl
Blumenauer, U.S. Congressmember from Oregon; Roger
Snoble, Metro CEO; Ron Gastelum, LA Area Chamber of
Commerce Executive Vice President; Dan Beal, Automobile
Club of Southern California Manager of Public Policy;
Richard Alarcón, State Senator; and Douglas R. Failing,
Caltrans District 7 Director. After reviewing and
comparing the three bond proposals, members worked
on a resolution that called for support of a "comprehensive
infrastructure bond initiative that proportionately
funds transportation projects in Southern California"
and the use of General Obligation bonds to fund these
Transit Coalition Executive Director Bart Reed participated
in an event exposing students to transportation issues.
The UCLA School Public Policy Affairs Day event was
part of a class taught by Michael Dukakis. Reed was
interviewed by students in the class on the Wilshire
Boulevard bus lanes.
February 11: Four letters regarding two op-ed
pieces in the Sunday, February 5 edition of the Los
Angeles Times were published. Two
responded to the monorail
idea written by author Ray Bradbury. The
other two responded to a Dan Turner op-ed regarding
journey to LAX by transit.
February 13: The LA Times published
on transporation improvements that would be funded
under the Strategic Growth Plan from Governor Schwarzenegger.
The Caitlin Liu article listed several projects that
would be funded under the Plan, summarizes the different
challenges that come about in building a transportation
project, and notes how those challenges will be deciding
factors as to what will be funded under the Plan.
Acknowledgments: An op-ed piece by Peter Gordon,
Jim Moore II and Tom Rubin titled "
Rail Wrong Way", regarding perceived flaws
in bringing rail to Los Angeles, is now available.
Upcoming Events: Metro
Committee Meetings: Wednesday, February 15 and
Thursday, February 16, Board Room, Metro Headquarters,
One Gateway Plaza (adjacent to Union Station), Los
and Programming Committee, Wednesday, February
15, 1 p.m.
and Budget Committee, Wednesday, February 15,
Management & Audit Committee, Thursday, February
16, 9 a.m. (
Committee, Thursday, February 16, 12 noon.
Valley VOTE meeting: Monday, February 20. RailPAC
President Paul Dyson and Transit Coalition Executive
Director Bart Reed will make a presentation on extending
the Orange Line to Bob Hope Airport Metrolink / Amtrak
SFV Economic Alliance
Livable Communities Council: Tuesday, February 21,
8 a.m., Economic Alliance Office, Boeckmann-Fleming-Gelb
Board Room, 5121 Van Nuys Blvd., Sherman Oaks, CA
Meeting: Thursday, February 23, 9:30 a.m., Board
Room, Metro Headquarters, One Gateway Plaza (adjacent
to Union Station), Los Angeles.
(Metrolink) Board Meeting: Friday, February 24,
10 a.m. San Bernardino Conference Room, SCAG Building,
12th Floor, 818 W. Seventh St., Los Angeles.
National Association of
Railroad Passengers (NARP) Region 12 Annual Meeting:
Saturday, February 25, 2006, California State Railroad
Museum, Sacramento. Guest speaker : Congressman Jim
Consider attending our monthly Transit
Coalition Dinner Meeting on Tuesday, February
28 - 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Philippe The Original,
1001 N. Alameda St. Los Angeles CA 90012. ( Map.)
We hope to see you there!
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welcome your thoughts and comments on our new electronic
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Bart Reed, Executive Director
Numan Parada, Communications Director
About The Transit Coalition:
The Transit Coalition is a 501[c](3) non-profit whose
goal is to increase Transit Options and Mobility in
Southern California by mobilizing citizens to press
for sensible public policy to grow our bus and rail
As a grass roots group, we depend upon your contributions
to allow us to pursue our important work. Add yourself to our mailing list and
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