The Long Beach City Council wants to alter the route of the Los Angeles-Long Beach light rail line that is under construction. Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to ask that the light rail tracks include a loop through downtown Long Beach that would run at street level along Long Beach Boulevard, 1st Street, Pacific Avenue and 8th Street.
Original plans for the project called for running the tracks only down Long Beach Boulevard, but council members have objected to a major reconstruction of the boulevard. Council members also say the downtown loop would service more residents and have less of a negative effect on traffic.
Altering the light rail route would add at least $4 million to the project's estimated cost of $675 million, with the extra charge to be paid by the county, council members said. A county official, however, said the city should contribute some money for the improvements.
Paul Taylor, deputy executive director of the county Transportation Commission, said in an interview that the commission would have to negotiate with the council to decide whether the route would be altered and whether the city or county would pay for the changes. "There should be local participation" in the cost of the improvements, Taylor said.
In their resolution adopting the change, council members said they would not allow the light rail to be constructed in Long Beach unless all disputes between the city and county have been resolved.