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New Subway Route Cost Estimates Questionable

October 09, 1994

Your editorial "Break the Gridlock on Mass Transit for Valley" (Sept. 18) gave far too much credibility to the revised cost estimates for the proposed Burbank-Chandler subway/open trench route for the Red Line extension.

The claims that the subway/open trench proposal will cost only about $20 million more than the monorail are highly dubious. One only needs to look at the experience of the Red Line construction through the Downtown, mid-Wilshire and Hollywood areas to see the massive credibility problems with that estimate.

What is more believable is the reporter's estimate of a minimum $250-million cost savings for the Ventura Freeway monorail over the Burbank-Chandler deep-bore subway. That is what I was referring to in the quote used in the editorial, "I am very glad that the (freeway route's) cost savings have been verified."

But the cost savings aren't the monorail's only advantage. A Valley subway would force residents to cope with a decade-long construction project, including the mining of over 2.2 million cubic yards of earth, the hauling of that soil through Valley neighborhoods to already overcrowded landfills.

What does the Valley itself want? Valley voters favored the Ventura Freeway alignment over the Red Line extension by a 5-1 margin. It is my hope my colleagues on the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board of Directors ratify that option on Oct. 26 when they are scheduled to decide on a route.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Los Angeles

Antonovich represents the Fifth District on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and is a director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

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