Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX line brings promise of jobs, revitalization to South LA

Metro's Expo Line | Intersections

The new Crenshaw/LAX line will connect to the existing Expo line | Intersections

Raymond Castro, a 44-year-old unemployed worker, is woefully familiar with Los Angeles’ infamous traffic snarls. Castro has been working construction for more than 30 years and has spent a considerable amount of time — sometimes more than two hours — commuting to various work sites. Now, a hiring provision recently implemented by Metro could make it possible for Castro to stay in his South Los Angeles neighborhood for work.

Castro said he hopes the Project Labor Agreement “opens up opportunities for myself and others” living in the community.

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX light rail line, approved for construction in 2012, promised to connect the Crenshaw Corridor to other parts of the city, such as the South Bay and the Los Angeles International Airport. And in 2011 when Metro passed the Project Labor Agreement, a measure aimed to designate a percentage of the construction jobs to local residents, residents presumed the line construction meant an opportunity for employment. [Read more…]

Villaraigosa and MTA Board adopt local hire policy for construction projects

imageLos Angeles has a reputation as the ultimate car city, but thousands of its residents still rely on public transit.

These riders tend to earn less than average LA County residents, which means even small fare increases can pose a challenge.

Bonnie Stillwater, a single mother, said both she and her daughter rely on the bus.
“The fare increases are so high, it takes one-fifth of my monthly income to pay for bus passes for me and my daughter,” she said.

Stillwater was one attendee at the Don’t X Out Public Transit rally in Mid-Wilshire on Tuesday. More than 20 such rallies were held across the country, protesting a proposed 37 percent budget cut to transit funding. If the cut passes Congress, it could lead to longer wait times and fewer buses.

Ryan Wiggins, the Southern California organizer for Transportation for America, said those cuts would primarily hurt people like Stillwater.

“Those people who don’t have a car, don’t have access to vehicles, who depend on both rail and bus to get to their places of work, will feel the brunt of the impact,” he said.

Wiggins said the cuts would also lead to less frequent maintenance of buses and delay the building of new rail projects.