COMPTON — After rallying on the steps of City Hall, about 200 residents and officials packed a county transportation hearing Wednesday to support a plan to reroute freight trains away from where the proposed Los Angeles-to-Long Beach light rail will pass through downtown.
"We have never been against the light rail," Mayor Walter R. Tucker said before the hearing. "What we are saying is the people (who light-rail officials) envision helping are going to be hurt if they don't have a grade separation" that would keep city streets unimpeded.
Current plans by the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission call for freight trains and light-rail trolleys to run on street-level tracks down Willowbrook Avenue, which cuts north-south through the Compton business district and directly in front of City Hall.
But the so-called MC-5 rerouting plan would divert the freight trains to existing tracks two blocks east along Alameda Street at a cost of about $29 million. Another $9 million to $14 million would have to be spent to construct an automobile overpass or underpass at Rosecrans Avenue, a major east-west thoroughfare.