The Los Angeles City Council today urged the county Transportation Commission to look into buying more than 150 miles of lines put up for sale by the Southern Pacific and Santa Fe railroads.
Council members said buying the lines could save years of planning and haggling and millions of dollars on future rail lines.
"We don't want to get rid of all these rights-of-way, and then, in a few years, find some way to reacquire them," City Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores said. "It would take too long, it would be too expensive and what would probably happen is we would not get them."
The council voted 9 to 1 for Flores' motion that asks the county transportation panel to look into the matter.
Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky said the lines could be used for light-rail projects like the Long Beach-Los Angeles line nearing completion, for heavy rail lines such as Metro Rail, for car-pool routes or for bicycle paths.