Friday, June 8, 2012


Come celebrate our great good luck at Union Station this Wednesday night by toasting ten champions of transit: In part because of their work LA has embarked on this country’s most ambitious transit expansion — a virtual doubling of the size of the county’s rail system from 12 miles and 103 stations to 236 miles and 200 stations — even as transit agencies around the U.S. are being forced to cut back on bus and rail service and raise fares due to the recession. This building boom is being funded by the 30-year Measure R sales tax adopted in 2008.

For the first time ever in Southern California there are three lines under construction at the same time: Expo to Santa Monica, the Gold Line to Azusa, the Orange Line to Chatsworth. Add the Crenshaw Line and downtown LA Regional Connector — utilities are being relocated now so construction can begin — and that’s five lines under construction. If voters approve a proposed extension of Measure R that’s likely to get put on the November ballot — the polling on the measure looks good — there could be eight lines under construction by the end of next year.

Suddenly the world is looking at LA in a different light. As Brookings Institution spokesman Andie Torner told the LA Times, “You have this archetype of LA as the highway city of America. Really, in fact, voters are looking to invest in a mode other than driving . . . All of a sudden you have this really big powerful place that’s not just changing mind-sets about who they are but has the potential to dramatically remake the way you get around. This opportunity is going to be watched across the country.”

As they say, “success has many fathers/mothers," and we are honoring ten of them at our annual awards ceremony at Union Station. Come toast our transit champions! Hors d'oeuvres by Homegirl Cafe. Live music from the '20s/'30s by Doozy. In the fabulous Fred Harvey room from 5-8 p.m. Get tix by clicking on the links to the right.

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