By Matt Thacker, June 14, 2014
The Valley Industry & Commerce Association has launched a
coalition aimed at bringing rail transit to the San Fernando Valley.
Last week, the business advocacy organization formed “Valley on
Track” which supports converting the Metro Orange Line busway to light
rail to ease overcrowding on the bus line. The 18-mile Orange Line runs
from Chatsworth to Warner Center and then across to North Hollywood.
The group also supports creating a rail system along the East San
Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and building the Sepulveda Pass
Corridor as a rail system with a tunnel through the Santa Monica
“We need to get people out of their cars. We need to make the
freeways better, and we need to help people who are transit dependent.
The best way to do that is through rail,” said VICA President Stuart
If the San Fernando Valley was its own city, it would be the fifth
largest in the United States and the only major city without a rail
system, Waldman said.
VICA insists that these three projects must receive priority in
future funding efforts, including ballot measures and federal funding
requests, for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to maintain the
“Metro is likely to place on the ballot a proposition that would fund
transportation projects. We decided we need to put together a coalition
of supporters and make sure whatever list of projects is put forth for
the 2016 ballot measure that the Valley is well taken care of,” Waldman
VICA is in the early stages of “rallying the troops” and meeting with
elected officials, Waldman said. In initial conversations, local
officials have been supportive of their ideas, especially converting the
Orange Line to rail, Waldman said.
“I don’t think we have a single Valley elected official who didn’t agree with us on the Orange Line,” he said.
The Sepulveda Pass, which connects the Valley with West Los Angeles,
is one of the most congested traffic corridors in the United States.
“No mode besides rail can even begin to address the transit demands,” the coalition states on their website.
Late last month, a 10-mile northbound carpool lane opened on the 405
Freeway. The carpool lane was a major component of a $1.1 billion
improvement project. Congressman Brad Sherman said the new lane will
relieve some traffic through the Sepulveda Pass, but he said it is not
time to celebrate.
“Now is the time to intensify the effort to build a subway through
the Sepulveda Pass, from the Valley to LAX, with a connection in West
Los Angeles to the Purple Line, now under construction,” Sherman said.
The voter-approved Measure R allocated $1 billion for the Sepulveda
Pass Corridor, but projected completion is still 25 years away. Several
options have been considered, including bus lanes on the 405 and light
or heavy rail. In 2016, voters may be asked to increase the county sales
tax by another half-cent to pay for this project and others.