Metro has been punting on adopting its long range transportation plan (LRTP) for months now -- this is their outline for the next 40 years of transit and freeway funding for LA County (see photo), and sets the agenda for what projects will get the shovel. The latest version of the LRTP has been released, with hopes that Metro's board will finally approve it at their meeting this Thursday and formalize their commitment to projects like the Wilshire subway extension, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, and the Expo Line to Santa Monica.
Interesting tidbits of the LRTP include:
- Metro has already submitted the Wilshire subway extension and the Downtown Connector, which will connect light-rail lines and eliminate transfers, for federal New Starts funding. According to the LRTP, Metro hopes the feds kick in half of the cost of both lines—about $1.5 billion (that's just the Fairfax leg of the subway extension).
- Possibly in hope of getting their hands on New Starts funds, the opening date of the Downtown Connector has been moved up from 2026 to 2019. Fairfax extension of subway is planned to open in 10 years.
- The contentious Gold Line Foothill Extension has made it onto the LRTP, but an opening isn't slated until 2017—Foothill proponents want the first extension to Azusa open and running by 2013. There is also no mention of further Foothill line extensions in the LRTP even though Foothill supporters have been clamoring for the line to travel as far east as the Ontario airport. Expect an unhappy and vocal contingent at Thursday's Board meeting.
- Metro is convinced they will be getting more money for transit projects from the state, which recently cut off funding. According to the LRTP, "State Transit Assistance funds of $3.3 billion are assumed to be reinstated by the State by FY 2014."
- If you dream of commuting on a train rather than the nightmarish 405 to get over the Sepulveda pass, better drink your V8: that line won't open for 30 years.
- On the LRTP, the opening for the Gold Line extension into East LA says 2010 though it's been reported that it's opening in less than a month. But wait, there's a footnote that says these are fiscal years that run from July to June, so there's still hope for an imminent ribbon-cutting.
- Some of the more advanced Metro lines—a subway extension to the Burbank airport, a light-rail from East Hollywood to La Puente, a Vermont Avenue subway—will probably be built and opened after you're dead, but environmental reviews and planning will formulate for them over the next decades.