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Future of Los Angeles Subway Project

December 15, 1996

* Re "Future of Subway Project Questioned by MTA Officials," Dec. 10: It's always astonishing to read that there are residents of this congested, polluted metropolitan area who actually believe that a more efficient bus system is the answer to rapid transit problems.

The bus is a noisy, dirty, lumbering, uncomfortable and utterly inefficient mode of "rapid" transit. The completed portions of the Red Line (and the Green and Blue lines) are a clean, safe, comfortable and decidedly rapid form of transit.

Stop thinking in the short term! Clearly the answer is to finish those portions of the subway already burrowing beneath city streets. Then take the rest of the system aboveground (with complete right of way over vehicular traffic) to save money on construction while creating a form of legitimate mass transit that both current and future generations can utilize.

TOM TREVOR

Los Angeles

* I am compelled to respond to the Nov. 29 editorial which broad-brushes the MTA's entire construction contracting process involved in the Metro Rail Eastside extension procurement as lacking internal controls. My reports dealt only with evaluating bidders' certifications and questionnaires.

The methods MTA uses to select technically qualified and com- petent contractors are not flawed. Steps construction contracting took to technically qualify Eastside extension bidders were painstakingly detailed and thorough. The three firms were so close technically that it was nearly impossible to differentiate them. Issues now affecting Metro East Consultants (MEC) involve its obligation to be responsive to certifications and questionnaires, not technical competence. MEC, in my opinion, was not responsive.

My criticism of the certification process legislated by AB 1869 in March 1996 (contractor pre-qualification) and hastily initiated for the Eastside, dealt with our incomplete system. This resulted in certain information on MEC going undetected. Had our process disclosed irregularities, they would have been reported immediately. The abbreviated methods and techniques used "which would give MTA reasonable assurance that certifications and disclosures signed by contractors are accurate" are being strengthened. This includes developing a comprehensive policy for contractor ethics and oversight to complement the pre-qualification process.

ANTHONY J. PADILLA

Director, Management Audit

Services, MTA

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