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Enemies Mark Ridley-Thomas, Bernard Parks Unite Over Metro Light-Rail Funding Along Crenshaw/LAX Route

Metro has the cash to build two crucial elements of its Crenshaw/LAX light-rail line, even though there's been some foot-dragging about going forward on the MTA board.

The cash can be found, according a Metro analysis released last week. In fact, $2 billion dollars has been identified for only $400 million worth of work.

A rare alliance of local African American leaders, including political rivals Mark Ridley-Thomas of the county Board of Supervisors and city Councilman Bernard Parks, as well as U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, U.S. Rep. Karen Bass and L.A. Councilwoman Jan Perry, have signed on to a campaign to get the elements built. Some of them were scheduled to meet with Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at noon today.

Villaraigosa controls four votes on the MTA board, enough, ostensibly, to get these things built -- or not.

Enemies Mark Ridley-Thomas, Bernard Parks Unite Over Metro Light-Rail Funding Along Crenshaw/LAX Route

The features include a stop at Leimert Park Village, which would cost $131 million, and an 11-block, underground tunnel along Crenshaw Boulevard for $269 million, according to Ridley-Thomas' office.

An MTA board vote on the funding proposal, brought forward by Ridley-Thomas, was scheduled for Thursday.

The MTA cash that could be raided includes "$585 million in low-priority improvements to existing subway stations," according to Ridley-Thomas' office.

"The need for a Leimert Park Village Station is obvious - a Crenshaw Corridor rail line must include the most prominent cultural center on its route," Ridley-Thomas said. "... Not making these investments also has a great cost to the cultural and economic life of both the immediate community and greater Los Angeles."

Other supporters of the Crenshaw/MTA features include Bishop Charles Blake, activist Damien Goodmon, Rev. William Smart, state Sen. Curren Price, state Assemblywoman Holly Mitchell, and state Assemblyman Mike Davis.