We knew City Hall and the Metropolitan Transit System favored rail over wheel when it came to public transportation, but Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's unabashed bus diss on KNX news radio this morning almost made us choke on our flamin' hot Cheetos and rear-end the Big Blue clunker in front of us.
Villaraigosa was invited on air to promote his 30/10 initiative, and was noticeably ticked (“It's sunny outside, and you're talking doom and gloom!”) when his hosts veered the conversation toward the dozens of Angelenos who say they'd rather see the city patch roads and restore the spotty bus system before pouring billions into a far-off subway fantasy.
But our fearless leader wasn't having any of that. With a cunning, unforeseen stone to kill two angry birds …
… Villaraigosa informed listeners that most of L.A.'s potholes are actually in the No. 3 lane, because that's where the buses run. Therefore, he concluded, shouldn't the bus system share some of those repair costs?
Really? As if the Big Bad Bus is some trust-fund asshole who lets his dachshund poop on the sidewalk, then makes someone else clean it up.
In reality, Villaraigosa knows full well that the bus barely has enough money to run, let alone lend to Street Services, and that its only source of cash — the Metropolitan Transit Authority — shares his singular interest in hip, fast, insanely expensive light rail over preserving the gassy dinosaurs of public transit past.
The MTA cut nine bus lines in December, and just put 10 more on the chopping block this February. Then there are the dozens of lines that have been shortened or rerouted or consolidated into obscurity.
For working-class Angelenos who rely on the bus to get to work — because the subway is only capable of covering/connecting a fraction of the L.A. sprawl — the MTA cuts are life-threatening.
From a recent Bus Riders Union press release: “The last four years have demonstrated that the MTA is headed down a very dangerous and alarming path when it comes to their 500,000 bus riders and transit dependent riders of color that are profoundly poor by the agency's own standards.”
And again, this morning… Villaraigosa suggests the poorest corner of the L.A. commute also shoulder the cost of the city's potholes.
Hard to see the sunny side of that one.