Friday, June 24, 2005

LA MTA versus FTA

Actions do speak louder than words. Especially when actions deal with money! Case in point: The Los Angeles County MTA's proposed Exposition Avenue Light Rail Project is actually saving taxpayer's money by not applying for Federal Transit money! Here is another related story that verifies this amazing fact.

No less than Mr. Rick Thorpe, LA MTA's chief Capital Management Officer, has said in a written statement, as reported here by Progressive Railroading, that the Federal Transit Administration's current evaluation process has become very time consuming. Bypassing FTA's new "New Starts Program", LA MTA figures that the completion date for the Exposition Avenue Project moves up a full two years!

Mr. Thorpe is a hero. The public gets much needed transportation at a lower cost. Rail suppliers, and anyone else for that matter who has watched the price of steel go up substantially in the past year or two, will verify that on a Project of $640 million like this, two years of approval time may cost an additional amount that goes well into the seven figure range!

It's a WIN-WIN-LOSE situation. LA MTA wins. Light Rail riders in Los Angeles win. The FTA loses!

This is money that cannot be added to other costs imposed by the FTA. But it should be. Kudos to the Los Angeles MTA for, in effect, telling the gatekeepers at the FTA to stuff it.


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