In one of the more bizarre explanations for a public project postponement, a news organization discovered that paint caused the months-long delay of the Metro Gold Line light rail's Eastside Extension.
According to Neon Tommy, the publication of the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, documents it unearthed explain that paint on concrete near the tracks conducted electricity that in turn was causing trains on trial runs to switch tracks without warning.
The painted concrete had to be torn out and replaced with asphalt at three intersections, the publication states, causing the delays before the extension finally debuted one month ago.
The story gets stranger however: It turns out that Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina was none too happy with the resulting asphalt sections, particularly concerning how they looked:
“She hates it,” wrote Molina's transportation advisor, Nicole Englund, in an email obtained by Neon Tommy. “Wants to know why she can't have concrete and then paint it. Why were they painting the other sections. Not happy.”
Wait, there's more: Neon Tommy had filed California Public Records Act requests with the Metro/Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which apparently dragged its feet and tried not to hand over the documents for the story, citing “pending litigation,” which is no excuse. But Molina's office actually “went to bat” to help the publication obtain emails, some of which were sent and received by members of her own staff, according to the publication.