When the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's board took up L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas' proposal Thursday to add two stations to the new Crenshaw light-rail line, Lakewood City Councilwoman Diane DuBois asked the right question. Then she gave the wrong answer.
At issue were stations at Leimert Park Village -- a historic center of African American life in Los Angeles -- and at Hindry and Florence avenues in Westchester. The latter would be above ground and relatively inexpensive, but the stop at Leimert Park was projected to cost $120 million. The Metro board agreed in 2011 to build that station only if the total 8.5-mile project stayed within its budget of just under $1.8 billion.
On Wednesday, the City Council voted to pony up $55 million for the two stations, leaving a gap of about $80 million. Ridley-Thomas' motion called for both stations to be added to the project, funded by the $55 million from the city and $80 million from the board's reserves.
According to my colleague Laura J. Nelson, board member DuBois asked whether it was wise to spend more than one-sixth of the board's reserves to build the Leimert Park station. Her answer, evidently, was no; she was the lone dissenter in the board's 10-1 vote.