RUNNING SINCE 2008

Today, in the lead up to our major march and rally tomorrow, we officially launched our grassroots campaign and petition to the Mayor Villaraigosa, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the MTA requesting resources from the Obama stimulus package and Measure R to add grade separations in South LA portion of the Expo Line from USC to Dorsey High School. We’ve titled the endeavor “Expo Line South LA Grade Separation Project.”

Despite the economic downturn, with the passage of Measure R last November (the local sales tax increase for transportation) and the Obama stimulus package, MTA now has more resources for tax dollars that by law has to be spent on rapid transit expansion. (It can’t be spent on bus or rail operations).

NOW IS OUR TIME TO REQUEST THESE RESOURCE GO TOWARD FIXING EXPO!

Please download, sign and return your copy of the letter.

An overview of the benefits of the project, why it fits the major criteria for the stimulus package as articulated by President Obama, and how the Expo Line could be timely built while implementing the new grade separations is below:

Expo Line South LA Grade Separation Project

Popularity: 8% [?]

Street-Level Debacle – LA Business Journal Op-Ed

Posted by Fix Expo Team On July - 29 - 2008 ADD COMMENTS

The following op-ed appeared in the July 28, 2008 edition of LA Business Journal, regarding the Mayor’s proposed sales-tax increase for transportation.

Shared tax burdens should result in shared benefits. Thus, if the MTA and mayor hear the concerns of South L.A. and invest in life-saving and community-preserving grade separations, particularly near our schools, we’re prepared to support his sales tax hike. But expecting South L.A. taxpayers to accept the street-level Expo Line design, while forcing us to pay for a subway under Hancock Park, Beverly Hills and Century City, is simply adding insult to injury and furthering MTA’s discriminatory tactics.

The entire article is below:

Street-Level Debacle

MTA expects South L.A. to bear the burden of proposed Expo Line and its dangerous above-ground trains.
By DAMIEN GOODMON

In his effort to build the Wilshire subway western extension to Santa Monica, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who chairs the Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, has proposed increasing the regressive sales tax in the face of an economic downturn that is hitting the vulnerable taxpayers, consumers and businesses of South Los Angeles the hardest.

The mayor’s request for sacrifice from his South L.A. constituents for the Subway to the Sea is audacious given his unresponsiveness to the large South L.A. coalition requesting equal investment and equal treatment from the MTA regarding Phase 1 of the Expo Light Rail Line.

As it traverses from downtown L.A. to Culver City, the 8.5-mile Expo Line is proposed to slice across nearly all intersections in South L.A. at street level 240 times a day. In addition to the adverse traffic impacts, noise pollution and other environmental concerns, the street-level design poses a significant safety hazard, with 225-ton trains planned to operate at speeds up to 35 and 55 miles an hour. At Vermont, Normandie, Western and Crenshaw, which abut large urban schools, parks and places of worship, crossing gates aren’t even proposed. Twenty one of the 27 proposed street-level crossings have no gates.

This design has proved to be unsafe, evidenced by the accident record of the MTA’s Blue Line, which en route to Long Beach from downtown L.A. carves through the communities of South L.A., Watts, Willowbrook and Compton, and is the deadliest light rail line in the country with 818 accidents and 90 deaths.

The Expo Line’s close proximity to more than a dozen schools, in particular the 2,100-student Dorsey High School (which would be 10 feet from the tracks) and 3,500-student Foshay Learning Center (50 feet from the tracks), has prompted resolutions opposing all or portions of the street-level design from United Teachers Los Angeles and LAUSD Parent Collaborative, and legal action by the LAUSD Board of Education. All are concerned that children will be lost, such as 14-year-old Lavert Baker Jr., who never made it home from school last year because he was killed by a Blue Line train that was carrying his sister. Lavert is one of more than a dozen youths and young adults who have met similar unfortunate fates on the tracks of MTA trains.

Throughout the planning stages of the Expo Line, all parents, teachers and residents expressed concerns about the safety and environmental impacts of the street-level design – in South L.A. and in Culver City. The Culver City City Council heard the voices of its constituents and responded by passing motions prohibiting the street-level crossings the MTA had originally planned for their city.

Recognizing the power of a municipality, MTA bowed to Culver City’s demands, adding very costly overpasses, realigning National Boulevard and shifting a station platform so that Phase 1 of the Expo Line would not have any street-level crossings west of La Cienega Boulevard. The result is a 100-year project that west of La Cienega requires no child to walk across tracks, gridlocks no traffic, delays no emergency services, and inflicts no noise pollution, while imposing all of these burdens and more east of La Cienega in South L.A.

This discrepancy is perhaps best illustrated by the vast disparity in the amount of tax dollars MTA is spending for the one mile of the Expo Line from La Cienega to the Robertson Boulevard terminus in Culver City ($185 million for the one mile) compared with the 4.5 miles in South L.A. (just $31 million per mile, for a total of $140 million).

South L.A. paid its taxes for Phase 1 of the Expo Line: $35 million from the city of L.A. versus just $4 million from Culver City. Yet, we’re receiving a substantially lower return, and expected to bear greater hardship, including the ultimate calamities – the loss of life and limb.

Shared tax burdens should result in shared benefits. Thus, if the MTA and mayor hear the concerns of South L.A. and invest in life-saving and community-preserving grade separations, particularly near our schools, we’re prepared to support his sales tax hike. But expecting South L.A. taxpayers to accept the street-level Expo Line design, while forcing us to pay for a subway under Hancock Park, Beverly Hills and Century City, is simply adding insult to injury and furthering MTA’s discriminatory tactics.

Popularity: 4% [?]

Next Meeting: Mon Jan 11

Join us at our first community update and organizing meeting in the new decade as we discuss the on-going Farmdale controversy and Crenshaw subway effort.

Campaign for Stimulus & Measure R Funds to Grade Separate the South LA Portion of Expo

MTA now has more resources that by law has to be spent on rapid transit expansion. Now is our time to request these resources go toward FIXING EXPO!

Responding to MTA Spin & Deception

A comprehensive response to the spin, red herrings, and half-truths delivered by MTA/Expo, complete with agency memos, testimony, studies, pictures, videos and all.

Separate & Unequal: Expo Phase 1

Compare the design of the Expo Line Phase 1 west of La Cienega to that in majority-minority South LA and it’s clear that Expo Phase 1 is textbook environmental racism.

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