first_imgThe subway to the sea simply doesn’t offer enough bang for the buck. And given L.A.’s limited resources and severe traffic problems, we need to get the most out of every dollar. That means more small projects that accomplish much good quickly, not grandiose schemes that demand more time or money than we have.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! That takes us to the matter of priorities. Subways, especially in earthquake-prone Los Angeles, are outrageously expensive. And putting a subway under some of the region’s most expensive real estate – land that is laden below the surface with explosive natural gas – would no doubt be especially so. It will take every ounce of L.A.’s political clout to get the necessary funds out of Sacramento and Washington to complete this project. But if all our revenue streams are channeled into the Westside, what becomes of other crucial projects throughout L.A.? What becomes of our crippled freeways? What becomes of our inadequate bus lines, which are being cut even as L.A.’s leadership fantasizes about a subway to the sea? And that takes us to the matter of value. The Orange Line busway, which has done wonders to relieve traffic in the San Fernando Valley, cost just $300 million – a fraction of what the subway to the sea would cost – and was completed in just a couple of years. Similarly, other much-needed improvements, such as a diamond lane on the northbound 405 Freeway, would cost far less while offering greater, more immediate relief. THE excitement among Los Angeles political leaders about building a “subway to the sea” suggests that our politicos have lost touch with two concepts that should underlie all public works: priorities and value. In the abstract, a train beneath Wilshire Boulevard sounds great. It would relieve some of the Westside’s wretched traffic congestion while causing minimal blight and pollution. But in reality, it would take decades to complete, while costing untold billions of dollars, thus tying up funds for countless other desperately needed transportation projects. Is this really the best way to spend the public’s limited funds now? last_img

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