Burke had recommended that the agency drop plans for a subway station entrance to Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center at Sunset Boulevard and Vermont Avenue.
Another entrance to the subway extension due to open early next year is directly across the street. And Burke said the agency cannot afford the project--whose estimated cost has grown in four years from $6 million to $13 million--in the face of cost overruns on the Hollywood leg of the Metro Rail project.
But after lobbying by Kaiser, the board gave the station a 30-day reprieve in the hopes that the giant health maintenance organization will help close the $7-million funding gap. "We're willing to explore all options," a Kaiser Permanente spokesman said, adding that the firm has already spent $1 million of its own money on the project.
City Councilwoman Jackie Goldberg told the MTA board that even though the Kaiser entrance would be across the street from another portal, the busy corner can be difficult to navigate, especially for someone who is ill.
Still, Burke made headway on other fronts.
The board gave final approval to the conversion of trouble-plagued methanol and ethanol buses to diesel fuel. The step is designed to help the agency meet a federal court order to relieve overcrowding on buses.
Directors also dropped plans for crossover tracks between the subway tunnels under the Santa Monica Mountains--an action designed to help the agency complete the subway to North Hollywood on time and within budget and convince Washington of the MTA's competence to manage federally funded projects.
Like the concerns from Wall Street, a General Accounting Office report to Congress obtained this week calls attention to the MTA's financial uncertainty. The report notes that federal funding for the $6.1-billion subway depends heavily on a so-called recovery plan demanded by U.S. officials. Burke said he expects to present the plan--the agency's third--to the MTA board in April.