By Steve Hymon, August 20, 2015
Metro CEO Phil Washington gave his vision for transportation in Los Angeles County at an event in downtown L.A last night at a Zocalo Public Square and Metro event last night. Washington was interviewed by NBC4’s Conan Nolan.
Here’s video of the event on Zocalo’s website. If you would like to listen to the audio only, here it is:
(Go to the website to listen to the video.)
Zocalo’s Joe Mathews wrote up the event. The entire article is here. Some highlights:
On accelerating projects:
Washington, who came to Los Angeles three and a half months ago after years of heading Denver’s Regional Transportation District, spoke passionately about the need for Los Angeles to finish the build-out of its transportation infrastructure under Measure R—and for the country as a whole to devote far more attention and money to infrastructure.
To that end, he said Metro needed to leverage its assets and existing funding, and use more tools to complete projects faster. He mentioned in particular public-private partnerships, sometimes called P3s, in which private companies invest money upfront, assume the risks of the project, and are paid back over time. He noted that this approach could accelerate projects in L.A., and had been crucial to a rail project to connect Denver’s downtown and airport. [snip]
Asked by Nolan which of the five Metro rail projects currently under construction was a “game changer,” he mentioned the Regional Connector because it can connect existing lines and “open up economic development”; he suggested he was looking for ways to accelerate its scheduled completion.On the Blue Line:
In response to two audience members who complained about how security and sheriff’s deputies treat riders on the Blue Line, Washington said he had hired a new security chief at Metro and asked him to assess security throughout the entire system. He described security as one of several ways— including cleaner buses and rail cars, on-time buses, and technology—of “enhancing the customer experience” and convincing more people to use Metro.On Metro’s potential long-range plan update and accompanying ballot measure to raise funds for projects:
In response to an audience question about the balance of bus and rail projects in a successor measure to Measure R on the 2016 ballot, he said Metro had asked local governments to prioritize projects by September 1. He said Metro has 2,300 projects it’s currently evaluating, worth a total of $250 billion.
(Go to the website to read reactions on social media.)