LA Metro Rail to Orange County? ? Future Transit USA

September 12, 2019

Hey everybody, thanks for tuning in to
Los Angelist. Today we’re going to look at a historic abandoned Pacific Electric
Railway line being brought back to life by the County of Los Angeles; Metro’s
planned West Santa Ana branch light rail line, which will eventually connect
downtown Los Angeles to Cerritos and Artesia by bringing yet another one of
our region’s numerous abandoned former Pacific Electric interurban rail lines
back to life and could eventually even connect Metro Rail to the terminus of
the already funded streetcar being constructed in the cities of Santa Ana
and Garden Grove, well beyond the LA County Line all the way to the
intersections of Harbor & Westminster boulevards in Orange County. The mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti has included a proposal to complete this line as far as
Cerritos and Artesia in time for the 2028 Olympics. However
today I’d like to dive into this project a little deeper than has been done
previously and actually look at the long term prospect of connecting Orange
County to Los Angeles County via Metro Rail. Now while I personally have some
profound policy disagreements with the Orange County Board of Supervisors on a
number of issues, namely approaches to immigration enforcement and homelessness
which I could personally only describe as cruel, but on the matter of how best
to reestablish the long-lost light rail link between Southeast LA County and
Central Orange County, one of Orange County’s five Republican County
Supervisors has made a point that is absolutely correct and deserves to be
recognized. In an article published in The Voice of OC late last year, fourth
District Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson was quoted as saying: “Us doing
things one off and on our own is not a great idea. I think the smart approach is
to tie in to the vast network that LA has already put a lot of investment into” and that doing so “might be a great way to troll for some dough from the federal
government”. Not only are Supervisor Nelson’s comments absolutely correct;
Money does tend to flow to shovel-ready projects that have already completed the
required environmental and social impact studies, they also show that supervisor
Nelson and his staff have actually put some serious thought into this and done
their homework so to speak. Not too long ago this piecemeal approach that Nelson
laments was used to, of course, spend 1 billion dollars in Orange County
taxpayer dollars to widen the 405 freeway which, of course, only made
traffic worse due to induced demand because the primary effect of widening a
road is not to improve traffic flow as is often falsely claimed but rather to
actually cause additional people to make the decision to drive in the first place
instead of walking or taking transit. If OCTA had taken a more comprehensive
regionally minded approach to reducing traffic gridlock on the 405 they would
not have been able to ignore the fact that another 1 billion dollars had only
recently been wasted doing the exact same thing to the 405 in Los Angeles
County where it also caused traffic to become even worse. For those of us
keeping track that’s 2 billion taxpayer dollars that have been spent just on
those 2 freeway widenings; a catastrophic waste of public resources that has not
even benefited those who actually have to drive on the 405 each day, but I
digress. Through such reckless failures of
governance as the harmful and costly impulse to continually widen area
freeways, it has become abundantly clear that a more effective and cooperative
regional approach to addressing the transit needs of those who commute
between Los Angeles and Orange Counties each day is warranted.
And, just as we did with our recent successful effort to improve service
frequency on Metrolink by 2028; That’s where you come in. Separate into state
from 2016’s Measure M in Los Angeles County, Orange County also has the
transit funding sales tax, also called measure M. If you agree that an ambitious, unified and coordinated approach to solving Los Angeles and Orange County’s
shared traffic woes is desperately needed, the Orange County Board of
Supervisors needs to hear from you as soon as possible. Specifically, they need
to hear that supervisor Shawn Nelson was indeed right to suggest that Metro Rail
should be used to reconnect Los Angeles and Orange counties, and that they should take action and seek funding for a Metro rail connection between Los Angeles and
Orange County using the same historic route as the old Pacific Electric red
cars did right up until the bitter end in 1950.
In addition to 4th district supervisor Shawn Nelson, who you should absolutely
call and thank for suggesting this idea in the first place, Orange County is represented by four other County Supervisors who need to
hear from you that they should help fund an extension of Metro Rail to Harbor &
Westminster Westminster Boulevards in Orange County. Extending Metro Rail to Orange County would give the two counties of Los Angeles and
Orange something to share in common other than bad traffic and good surfing,
and such a unified two-county approach would have the added bonus of providing
infrastructure friendly politicians at the state and federal levels with a
larger and more politically useful target for future funding since, as Metro
CEO Phil Washington often likes to point out, government funding tends to flow to
projects that have completed studies and are already ready to break ground,
because there is practically nothing our politicians seem to enjoy more than a
good photo op with a hard hat and a shovel. And who can blame them?
Trains rule! So give your Orange County Supervisors
the opportunity to earn a well-deserved photo op with a hardhat and a shovel.
Tell them that you are sick and tired of sitting in traffic on the freeway and
that you demand that Orange County takes action to fund the expansion of Los
Angeles metro rail into Orange County. As usual, don’t worry about which specific
supervisorial district you live in. Despite the Orange County County Board
of Supervisors being quite literally in charge of everything that happens in
Orange County, period, very few people actually even pay attention to what the
supervisors are up to, so when you call in with a well-informed demand for the
expansion of Metro Rail into Orange County you should expect gold star
service from your elected representatives. Far fewer people
actually bother to contact these powerful local officials than you might
expect so those of us who actually take the time to call our County Supervisors
tend to have a disproportionate influence on the supervisors decisions.
In other words the squeaky wheel really does get the oil. Well, thanks again for
tuning in to Los Angelist and of course thanks to everyone who let me use their
stuff! Links in the description. And also in the description you will find
up-to-date phone numbers for all five Orange County Supervisors right down
there in the description as well. Call all five if you have a minute! Snd of
course please like, share and subscribe. Oh and hey, one last thing before you go.
Those of you who have been following Los Angelist for a while may have noticed
that I started a Patreon blog last week where I’ve begun posting maps and
information about my future videos and activism efforts. The reason I’ve done
this is because after spending the past year or so making videos like this and
speaking up for transit improvements at public meetings in my free time, and
especially after my Metrolink video and your letters and phone calls to County
Supervisors resulted in a real legislative commitment to increase the
number of daily Metrolink trains on most lines by 2028, it has become clear to me
that advocating for improved rail and bus service right here in LA and
throughout the Americas is the closest thing I have found to a true calling in
life. The problem is, you can’t eat model trains, so I’ve made a Patreon in hopes
of being able to commit myself full-time to making videos like this one. Try and
imagine a year-round political campaign with no candidate and where everybody
has to be respectful of one another and the only campaign issue is a thunderous
demand for more transit and better transit in every place that needs it.
That’s what I’m going for. So of course thank you so much to my first three patrons on Patreon, Aziz, Brian and Robert for breaking the ice! I hadn’t actually
expected anyone to notice my Patreon blog before I had had a chance to at
least promote it in one of my videos, so the fact that the three of you hopped on
board before even that means more to me than you could possibly ever know. Thanks again for watching! Please join the public transit revolution at Please like and subscribe!

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