Several hundred people turned out for a festive celebration of Metro Rail’s 25th anniversary, a historical milestone marking the continued construction of a 21st century rail system for Los Angeles County. With a Metro train zooming in the background and the Staples Center within view, elected officials, rail enthusiasts and Metro representatives hailed the ongoing investment and efforts to improve public transportation.
Over the past 25 years, a total of 80 rail stations, 87 rail miles and 275 rail cars have been built with 37 more miles to come. To celebrate, Metro has plans for 25 events across the region.
Flanked by Metro directors Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Duarte Councilmember John Fasana, Inglewood Mayor James Butts, and Metro Chief Executive Phil Washington, Metro Chairman and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas thanked voters for their ongoing support.
“This is your system,” Chairman Ridley-Thomas said in recognition of LA County voters who have supported funding the train system with such ballot initiatives as Measure R in 2008. “You supported it. And through your generosity and far- sightedness, we’re creating a modern rail system that is regional in scope, rational in its appeal to riders and equitable in the benefits it is providing for the people of L.A. County.”
Today’s Metro system transports 1.4 million people to their destinations every day. With many projects in the works, including expanding the Expo and Gold Lines, and construction of the new Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Metro Rail system will span over 113 miles to destinations across LA County over the next decade. With all of these projects, there is no greater investment in infrastructure happening in the nation.
Metro rail is part of a broader transportation system that includes 2,200 Metro buses covering 170 bus routes and nearly 16,000 bus stops. “We’re building a balanced transportation network to address the issues of the entire region,” said Metro CEO Washington.
In celebration of the Metro Rail event, 5,000 25th Anniversary commemorative TAP cards are being loaded into ticket vending machines in Union Station and 7th/Metro, Pico and Willowbrook stations. A Metro website has been established at metro.net/25 that include details on upcoming 25th anniversary events, including concerts and art and architecture tours of the rail stations, scheduled for the next year, as well as a chance for the public to share stories through an interactive literary program.