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Red Line Extension Approval a Relief

August 19, 1993

* What a relief it was to see that the majority of reasonable, educated minds have prevailed over the minority of illogical, uninformed minds of those individuals currently on the newly formed Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors.

Over the past few years, there has been a strong, ongoing lobbying effort led by County Supervisor Michael Antonovich (current MTA board chairman) and Nick Patsaouras (alternate to the MTA board). These two individuals (at least publicly) have been the primary movers through the use of the press, to lobby support of the total elimination of the currently scheduled construction of the 2.6-mile extension of the Metro Red Line from the Universal City station to the North Hollywood station at the intersection of Lankershim and Chandler Boulevards.

Fortunately, with no help from them, this portion of the project will start as scheduled.

On the surface, the Antonovich/Patsaouras plan was based on their idea that by the simple elimination of the North Hollywood extension (currently contracted, federally funded and scheduled to start construction this year) the MTA could simply and arbitrarily transfer these funds to their personally endorsed project, the Valley East/West elevated line along the Ventura Freeway center divider, thereby in their own words, "save the money in the shrinking transit budget." Although there has been no firm feasibility and cost study completed for the freeway elevated route.

In my opinion, this action was nothing less than a thinly veiled attempt to cause the MTA to endorse the freeway alignment.

So, it is reassuring to know that there are board members, specifically MTA Vice Chairman County Supervisor Ed Edelman and newly appointed MTA director Franklin White, who are up to date and well informed about this business. They properly and competently informed board members, by pointing out the fact that the federal funds had indeed been contracted and thereby could not be arbitrarily transferred to any other proposed project.

The real battle begins next year. After all the ordered studies on both the proposed alignments are completed. Then and only then will the board have all the necessary details on the table to come to an informed decision.

ROBERT L. LOVERIDGE

North Hollywood

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