Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Los Angeles Unveils Cutting-Edge Light-Rail Connection

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority unveiled a remarkable 1.9-mile subway tunnel beneath the heart of downtown Los Angeles. It is valued at $1.8 billion. This groundbreaking accomplishment allows passengers to travel directly between Long Beach and Azusa. It also connects Santa Monica to East Los Angeles. The Regional Connector seamlessly unites the three light-rail lines.

Photo Credit: Metro Los Angeles

Los Angeles officials aim to entice new riders, alleviate traffic congestion and combat pollution by enhancing the convenience of the light-rail network. Bart Reed, the visionary executive director of the Transit Coalition, a public-transit advocacy group, couldn’t contain his enthusiasm for this transformative breakthrough.

“This is a game-changer for transportation in Los Angeles County,” he said. “Driving anywhere in this city is often a lesson in patience. Trains are the mobility solution we’ve been waiting for.”

While transit systems nationwide face financial constraints, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expanding the light-rail system. This is partly because of voter-approved sales tax increases dedicated to funding ambitious projects.

Janice Hahn, a distinguished Los Angeles County supervisor and a key member of Metro’s board, emphasized the unwavering commitment to fulfilling the will of the people.

“We are making a substantial investment in constructing a cutting-edge transportation system that seamlessly connects people to their desired destinations,” she said.

With the city gearing up to host the highly anticipated 2028 Summer Olympics, officials believe that expanding the light-rail system will bolster connectivity among the county’s bustling cities. As the nation’s most populous county, this enhancement will reduce street congestion and slash carbon emissions.

Ara Najarian, a prominent Glendale City Council member and chair of Metro’s board of directors, stressed the urgency of finding alternatives to building new freeways.

“There’s simply no other choice,” he said. “We won’t be constructing new freeways. We’re determined to lure people out of their cars and into the comforting embrace of safe, reliable transit.”

Photo Credit: Metro Los Angeles

As the expansion unfolds, there is a surge in drug overdoses on trains and reported attacks on Metro trains. Violent crime on public transit in Los Angeles County has climbed by approximately 10 percent compared to the previous year. Drug-related offenses have grown by a staggering 301 percent.

While ridership still lingers below pre-pandemic levels, there’s a glimmer of hope. Metro officials report a steady increase with approximately 23.4 million passengers opting for Metro trains and buses in April 2023. Buses continue to dominate with over two-thirds of total ridership.


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