A Rail Reniassance in L.A.

An interesting read from California.

I wish the Provincial Government would read this quote; ai???Realistically speaking, thereai??i??s no new highway building in the future.ai???, when planning for their bridge and highway vanity projects in Metro Vancouver.

LOS ANGELES Daily News reports that Southern California planners are making strikes in a rail transit renaissance that owes much of its available right of way for track to the long vanished Pacific Electric “Red Car” lines that once spanned the region:

Southern California transit planners are laying rail, squeezing more out of freeways
By Mike Reicher
Los Angeles Daily News
Posted: 06/28/15

Gridlock is nothing new for Southern California drivers. With some of the nationai??i??s longest commute times, weai??i??ve grown accustomed to idling in traffic.
But local transportation planners are working to give commuters more alternatives to driving and to make the regionai??i??s freeways more efficient.
The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority, or Metro, is spending $14 billion on expanding rail lines, widening freeways, buying new buses and other major capital investments. Officials call it the nationai??i??s largest public works project.
In San Bernardino County, officials have more than $3 billion of transit changes underway ai??i?? mostly for highway projects such as toll lanes and interchanges, along with some passenger rail construction.
ai???Over time, weai??i??ll be giving priority to transportation systems that carry people and goods more efficiently,ai??? said Genevieve Giuliano, director of the Metrans Transportation Center and professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy.
ai???Realistically speaking, thereai??i??s no new highway building in the future.ai???
She pointed to the toll lanes on the 110 Freeway as a model of efficiency.
By charging more during rush hour, the system controls congestion. Also, tolls are reinvested into public transit ai??i?? namely buses along that same corridor ai??i?? that can move more passengers down the busy stretch at once.
L.A.ai??i??s current transit renaissance can be traced to the passage of Measure R, the half-cent sales tax that took effect in 2009.
Itai??i??s expected to generate $40 billion over 30 years and has allowed the county to secure billions of matching federal funds.
County officials are planning to propose another transportation sales tax measure, possibly on the 2016 ballot.
Officials are expanding the current L.A. passenger rail system into the Westside, to LAX and east of Pasadena.
The first segment of Metroai??i??s Purple Line subway extension to Westwood, the most expensive single project underway, is expected to cost $2.8 billion.
Other rail projects, including the LAX/Crenshaw light rail segment, the Gold Line Foothill extension, and the Exposition Line to Santa Monica, have a $5.7ai??i??billion price tag.
Most of the money is coming from Metro.
The L.A. agency is also contributing more than half of the $4.3 billion needed to widen or improve segments of Interstates 5, 10, 710 and State Route 138.
Bus and other projects are expected to cost an additional $1.2ai??i??billion, drawing on various funding sources.
With the longest average driving commute times in the region, San Bernardino planners have focused much of their attention and funding on improving roadways.
Theyai??i??re studying possible toll, or ai???expressai??? lanes, on the 15 Freeway between the Riverside County line and just north of State Route 210. That project could cost $1.3 billion.
A similar improvement on the 10 Freeway, between the L.A. County line and Redlands, could cost from $600 million to $1.8 billion, depending on whether officials choose basic car-pool lanes or more expensive toll lanes.
Long commutes in the Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario area are mostly due to the regionai??i??s distance from many employers, experts say, not solely from congestion.
On average, it took people 31 minutes to get to work, according to 2013 census data, compared with 26 minutes nationally. Car pools in the Inland Empire averaged 38 minutes ai??i?? the fourth worst among the nationai??i??s 195 metropolitan areas.
Besides the I-15 and I-10 corridors, San Bernardino County officials are planning to spend more than $750 million on other freeway improvements such as car-pool lanes, interchanges and lane additions.
Theyai??i??re also developing two passenger rail systems for roughly $346 million: one in downtown San Bernardino that would extend the Metrolink commuter railroad, and the Redlands Passenger Rail Project, which would connect San Bernardino and Redlands.
Separating railways from roads is another way local planners are easing congestion, while also improving safety.
The Alameda Corridor East project is building overpasses, underpasses or installing safety measures at 53 crossings in the San Gabriel Valley.
The total project budget is $1.7 billion.

Mike Reicher is an investigative reporter for the Los Angeles News Group with a focus on government accountability.

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