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Long Beach : Light-Rail Upgrade Rejected

December 04, 1986

The City Council has abandoned a proposal to upgrade the $685-million Los Angeles-Long Beach light rail after council members found out that suggested modifications would increase the project's price by $450 million.

Councilwoman Jan Hall had requested that the city consider elevating the light rail to eliminate downtown traffic problems. Hall and other council members also had suggested that the city consider switching from the proposed light rail, which some council members have described as an outmoded trolley system, to an automated rapid transit system similar to the Vancouver, Canada, Sky Train.

But council members agreed last month that the $450 million additional cost for modifying the entire Los Angeles-Long Beach route is prohibitive. The increase was outlined in a $7,000 study done for the city by Transport Consulting Ltd. of Vancouver.

Council members, however, have asked city planners to consider a change in the proposed route to include a downtown traffic loop.

The light rail, which is under construction, is supposed to have two tracks running along Long Beach Boulevard for 2.8 miles to a terminus between 1st Street and Ocean Boulevard. But city officials are now looking at a proposal to run one of the tracks in a circular route to expand downtown commuter services. The loop would include Pacific Avenue, and 1st and 8th streets, said Raymond T. Holland, the city's director of public works.

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