Metro Finds Funding Options for Leimert Park Station and Park Mesa Heights Tunnel

The community wants the Crenshaw-to-LAX light rail line to have a train station in Leimert Park. The community wants that same line to stay underground through Park Mesa Heights instead of running down the middle of Crenshaw Boulevard. What has been the key point of opposition to these two reasonable requests by residents and business owners, churches and other stakeholders along the route? Money. But late last week, staff at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority did some digging. The result? By realigning existing funds, Metro could cover the costs for these two key features of the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line.
The funding study, requested by Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, examines ways to pay for a rail station at Leimert Park Village (estimated cost $131 million) and moving an 11-block section of the rail line along Crenshaw Boulevard below ground (estimated cost $269 million).
The report from Metro’s planning division identifies $2 billion from which portions could be shifted to cover the Crenshaw project costs.

For more information click HERE

Three Key Facts

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas Urges Congress, Obama Administration To Back First-Class Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line

Senator Feinstein, as always, impressed us all


Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, in a series of meetings in Washington, D.C., urged key Members of Congress and Obama Administration officials to ensure the coming Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line will deliver first-rate service to Los Angeles rail commuters while maximizing benefits to Crenshaw corridor communities. The line will also provide a long-overdue rail connection to Los Angeles International Airport.

Ridley-Thomas met with key members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, both Democrats and Republicans, to discuss potential federal funding sources.

“I was pleasantly surprised to find there is no partisan divide over the need for a rail line to LAX. Both Republicans and Democrats told me that the nation’s second-largest city needs such a connection to call itself a first-rate city,” Ridley-Thomas said.

Ridley-Thomas is leading a drive for additional funding for the $1.4 billion project, while also working with Los Angeles Metro to find ways to cut project costs. He currently has a motion before the Metro Board of Directors to add a Leimert Park Village station to the line. The motion also calls for the train to run underground through Park Mesa Heights, which would speed travel time and avoid the potential disruptions of a street-level train to local businesses and neighbors.

“Money, or the lack of it, is not an excuse to build a cut-rate rail line,” Ridley-Thomas said. “In the past, we were told there was only money for a bus line. We rejected that, and now we have a rail line,” he said.

“When there is a will there is a way. We have shown our allies in Washington we have the will, and they can show us –as they have in the past– there is a way,” Ridley-Thomas said.

In addition to Second District-area Congressional Members Karen Bass, Maxine Waters and Laura Richardson Ridley-Thomas also spoke about the rail project with House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman John Mica(R-Florida), and committee members Jimmy Duncan, Jr. (R-Tennessee), Tom Latham (R-Iowa) and Jeff Denham (R-Atwater).

Ridley-Thomas also met with Federal Aviation Administration officials to explore potential cost savings for a portion of the rail line that runs through LAX. By modifying the current construction plan, tens of millions of dollars could possibly be saved.

The Crenshaw/LAX rail line will travel 8.5 miles from the new Expo rail line south to the Green Line. It is scheduled to start service in 2016.

Along with his push for rail funding, Ridley-Thomas also visited two innovative Washington, D.C. public schools. He toured the Maya Angelou Academy, located in Washington, D.C.’s juvenile custody facility, the New Beginnings Youth Development Center. He also visited SEED School of Washington, D.C., a public boarding school that sends close to 100% of its graduates to college.

Ridley-Thomas travelled to Washington with Supervisors Michael D. Antonovich, Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky and several County officials including Sheriff Lee Baca. As a group, they lobbied Members of Congress against funding cuts to Medicaid as well as cuts to the federal obligations to fund the jail costs of illegal immigrants.



Community Comes Out In Support of Ridley-Thomas Motion at Metro

On Thursday, April 21 a Metro sub-committee considered a motion by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas to add a train station at Leimert Park Village and to build the light rail line underground in Park Mesa Heights. The motion now moves forward to the full 13-member Metro Board for a final vote on Thursday, May 26. The community was out in full sport of the motion.

For additional information on the motion please click here.


Ridley-Thomas Applauds Funding For New Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital

March 8, 2011 – Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas today applauded the first payment to the nonprofit entity established to manage the new Martin Luther King Hospital. In a sign that the Board of Supervisors is dedicated to preserving the autonomy of the nonprofit, the board authorized the first installment of its $50 million, five-year funding commitment.

The money will be used for start-up expenses, such as purchasing equipment and medical supplies for the new 120-bed in-patient tower scheduled to open in February 2013. Once open, the hospital will be managed by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Healthcare Corp. and staffed by University of California physicians.

“This is an exciting new model, one that portends considerable benefit for the County of Los Angeles,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “I dare say it will be replicated in other parts of the nation as it relates to public/private partnerships and pioneering healthcare vehicles for underserved communities,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

The County’s contract with the nonprofit provides both for the autonomy of the nonprofit but also includes safeguards related to county contributions, stipulating the periodic auditing of funds.

“The board’s rights are ensconced in the agreement in such a way that transparency is preserved but the independence of the nonprofit is maximized,” Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said.

Expo Authority Approves Historic Project Labor Agreement

March 18, 2011 –   Workers in Los Angeles County won a historic victory today with the unanimous approval of a Project Labor Agreement by the Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority. The Project Labor Agreement (PLA), championed by Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Herb Wesson, ensures that local workers will have access to thousands of jobs created by Phase 2 of the $1.5 billion-Expo line rail from Culver City to Santa Monica.
“The agreement approved by the Expo Authority means employment for thousands of residents at a time when Los Angeles County is facing an unemployment epidemic,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. He added: “An investment in our physical infrastructure is incomplete without a similar investment in our human capital. Anything less is not only economically unsound, it is immoral.”