The benefits of bringing light rail stations to South LA

LACMTA CEO Art Leahy (Courtesy of Transit Talent)

Congress member Maxine Waters wrote a letter urging Arthur Leahy, CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), to seek funds for the construction of light rail stations in South Los Angeles.

The proposed light rail construction is in Leimert Park and Westchester on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor.

The funds for the light rail stations would come from a TIGER grant – a competitive nationwide grant program that creates jobs by supporting investments in transportation infrastructure.

Waters hopes to gain Leahy’s support in amending the transportation bill, H.R. 7, which would add one billion dollars in TIGER funds over the next two years in addition to constructing the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor in Leimert Park and Westchester.

In her letter, Waters states, “The Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor will improve air quality, relieve traffic congestion, and expand access to work, education, shopping, and entertainment opportunities throughout Los Angeles County.”

Leahy, who used to be a bus driver in South L.A., stated that he “do[esn’t] think there are negatives” to constructing the light rail system. He is confident, “When people ride [this] line, they’re going to love it.”

What other areas in South L.A. could possibly benefit from a light rail system?

imageSouth L.A. resident Pam Licavoli shared her opinion:

“A light rail system that would go down Crenshaw would be nice, but it would head north and south bound from Wilshire, all the way to [Pacific Coast Highway],” Licavoli wrote. “That would help tremendously for those who have jobs way out there.”

Leahy agreed that the new light rail system will provide “more access to job sites” and “more flexibility as to where [South L.A. residents] live and where they work.”

Licavoli further suggested, “Another area [a new light rail system] would help would be on Imperial, East and West bound way out past Kaiser, as that would help the elders and able them a chance to get to and from their doctor’s appointments.”

Leahy predicts that this new Leimert Park/Westchester line would be the “busiest light rail line in the country.” He imagines that this line would rival the popularity of even the Blue Line and Pasadena’s Gold Line.

“LACMTA is revolutionizing Los Angeles,” Leahy said. “You can do things today that were inconceivable 20 years ago.”

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