Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
LA Metro

Metro Cuts Service, and More Updates from the September Board Meeting

Five updates from today's monthly Metro Board of Directors Meeting:

1. 20 Percent Transit Service Cuts Approved

The Metro board approved its fiscal year 20-21 budget, which includes a 20 percent cut to bus service compared to the FY19-20 budget. Only director Mike Bonin voted against the service cuts.

Bonin grilled Metro Chief Operations Officer James Gallagher, who ended up reluctantly agreeing with Bonin's assertion that "we're [Metro buses are] more crowded than we say we are" due to loading numbers not taking into account front seats cordoned off during COVID-19. Bonin ultimately only succeeded in the passage of an amending motion that requires Metro to monitor operations and report back to the board every two months on how to restore service. Much of the board expressed interest in restoring bus service, if funding becomes available. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti asserted that, even before the election, another COVID-19 federal stimulus could possibly provide needed monies. Conventional wisdom suggests a transit stimulus is unlikely to pass before January.

2. Crenshaw/LAX Rail Construction Facing More Delay

Metro's Crenshaw/LAX light rail line is under construction, but delays continue to push back an opening date. As of April, Metro CEO Phil Washington had anticipated a Spring 2021 opening predicated on construction being substantially complete by early December 2020. Today's slide presentation makes it clear that Metro's contractor, Walsh Shea, will not finish building the Crenshaw Line this year. Once Walsh Shea finishes Metro needs about six months testing before the line opens to the public.

3. Union Station Patsaouras Busway Station Opening Delayed

Phil Washington announced that that new Patsaouras Plaza busway station opening is delayed until the end of October. It looks complete and had been due to open this weekend. Washington attributed the delay to revised state elevator codes. This busway station project has been hitting snags for about a decade - from early over-budget bids to a more recent year delay when unexpected human remains were discovered during excavation.

4. Metro Has Drawn Down 100 Percent Of Its CARES Acts Funds

During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, congress approved the CARES Act stimulus which included $1.068 billion for L.A. County transit operations. The money is shared by Metro and the county's various municipal transit agencies. CARES funding was available on a reimbursement basis, with some concerns that administrative processes could delay it getting to Metro. In May, Phil Washington expected Metro to receive $735 million around September/October. Today, Phil Washington announced that Metro had already drawn down 100 percent of its CARES Act funds, totaling $846 million.

CARES monies have helped Metro balance its budget and avoid even deeper cuts and layoffs that some U.S. transit agencies are experiencing. The full draw down means that Metro is on its own budgetarily unless another stimulus passes - see item 1 above.

5. Public Comment Now Available By Phone

Metro has implemented improved meeting features that allow the public to comment by phone. Earlier during COVID-19 virtual meetings, comments had to be submitted in writing and would be read out loud by the board secretary. The new meeting program also allows the public to see who is speaking. These are needed improvements for the public to better participate in Metro's meeting process.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Friday’s Headlines

Rep. Waters hates the people mover; SacRT's new transportation hub; Lessons learned from a long bike ride; More

July 19, 2024

The Active Transportation Program Has to Strategize About its Severely Reduced Funding

Funding for Cycle 7 of the Active Transportation Program is less than $200 million, and already there have been requests for fifteen times the amount of available funding

July 18, 2024

This Heat Wave Is a Car Dependency Problem

Our quickly warming planet has a unique impact on people who don't or can't drive — and we need policy action to protect their health.

July 18, 2024

We Need to Stop Killing People On Our Roads; A New ‘Bikes Belong’ Campaign Could Help

A ground-breaking campaign in the 90s helped deliver the federal money America needed to fund active transportation infrastructure. Is it time to re-launch it?

July 18, 2024

Eyes on the Street: Hollywood Boulevard Bike Lanes are Open

The Hollywood bike lanes project, already very much in use, is also already being criticized by commenters at Nextdoor and other social media

July 18, 2024
See all posts