Touchy MTA Defends Antonio Villaraigosa's $9-Billion Subway to the Sea Rip-Off, Slams L.A. Weekly For Alerting Public

Metro subway line
Metro subway line

It just came to our attention that a touchy Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (a.k.a. "Metro," a.k.a. "MTA") slammed L.A. Weekly last Friday, and in the process defended L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's super expensive legacy project, which we described in a September 23 news story as a "$9-billion Subway-to-Sea Rip-off."

Former L.A. Times reporter Steve Hymon, who now writes for Metro's "The Source" blog, was apparently assigned the task to give us a lashing, but he conveniently skipped over one major fact that got us writing in the first place...

While a recent Metro environmental impact report showed that the subway-to-the-sea will have very little impact on easing traffic congestion on the Westside, Villaraigosa and his cronies promised voters in 2008 the EXACT OPPOSITE when they were pushing for a half-cent, L.A. County sales tax hike to fund the multi-billion-dollar project.

The mayor, in other words, is not following through on that key promise of better traffic flow.

A commenter on Hymon's post also noticed that glaring omission:

"Metro has known for a long time that their rail lines have not and will not improve traffic," a commenter named Alex wrote. "There are certainly other benefits to rail. Unfortunately, many people, including the Mayor, other politicians, the L.A. Times, and practically every pro-transit speaker at the MTA public hearings, have repeatedly made the claim that rail improves traffic. So, if Steve wants to get sanctimonious, how about next time someone makes these false claim, (it happened over and over again at both the Subway Line and Expo Line hearings) the MTA actually correct them, instead of intentionally perpetuating the myth that somehow rail improves traffic?"

We couldn't agree more.

Metro officials, Villaraigosa and numerous transit experts also know that cost overruns for the construction of a subway line routinely double the initial estimated price.

For example, if Metro says the subway-to-the-sea will cost $4.5 billion, expect the final tab to be $9 billion or more. But Hymon writes around that, too, saying that since work hasn't started for the Westside extension, there are no overrun costs.

That's being just a tad disingenuous, no?

Hymon trots out all kinds of statistics to try to take the reader's eye off the ball, but the fact remains: Villaraigosa and his gang promised less gridlock on the Westside and now they can't deliver it... at a cost of $9 billion, to boot.

It's outrageous -- plain and simple.

But we do appreciate Hymon's fine sense of blogger's etiquette and linking to our story in the very first sentence of his post. He was better than us, in that sense -- we linked to him in the second paragraph.

Contact Patrick Range McDonald at pmcdonald@laweekly.com.

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