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Metro Celebrates a Quarter Century of Progress to Transform Transportation in Los Angeles County

Thursday February 15, 2018

Today the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) celebrated the 25th anniversary of its formation and noted key milestones that have dramatically improved transportation options for L.A. County’s nearly 10 million residents. 

Current and former board members, elected leaders and community stakeholders joined Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti at Union Station to commemorate the agency’s official birthday.  Metro was first created under State law on February 1, 1993 through the merger of two regional transportation agencies: the Southern California Rapid Transit District, operator of the region’s largest bus system, and the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission, the region’s principal transportation planning and funding agency. The merger created a mega-transportation agency tasked with a unique yet comprehensive mandate: plan, coordinate, design, build and operate transportation services for L.A. County.

Significant Metro milestones over the last two and a half decades include: building five new rail lines consisting of 82 additional miles of Metro Rail service; launching 22 highly successful Bus Rapid Transit Lines, including the Metro Orange Line and Metro Silver Line; converting all agency diesel buses to run on clean natural gas; obtaining voter approval of two new sales tax initiatives to fund local transportation improvements; improving mobility on the I-10 and 110 freeways by adding ExpessLanes; launching an Office of Extraordinary Innovation to find and test new mobility ideas; funding improvements for key bicycle and pedestrian connections, and much more.

“Today, we celebrate 25 years of a world-class transportation agency,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “With the passage of Measure M – the boldest, most comprehensive transportation investment in American history – Metro is well-positioned to make the next 25 years even more remarkable than the last.”          

Back in February ‘93, the Metro system consisted almost entirely of buses.  Only the 22-mile Metro Blue Line, which opened in 1990, and the Metro Red Line’s first 4.4-mile segment from Union Station to Westlake/MacArthur Park operated at that time. Southern California’s Metrolink commuter rail network launched the previous year in 1992.

Metro now operates 2,438 buses on 170 bus routes crisscrossing L.A. County. It also operates four light rail and two subway lines totaling 105 miles of service. Metro and its construction partners are now building four additional rail lines or rail extensions, re-imaging and restructuring Metro Bus lines, improving system safety and security, and funding repair and maintenance to keep its transit assets in good working condition for the next generation of Metro riders. 

“I am the last of the original Metro Board members that were sworn in 1993,” said City of Duarte Mayor John Fasana. “I am both astonished and proud of the numerous accomplishments this agency has achieved over the years in bringing new multi-modal transportation improvements to L.A. County. Our progress to date has been remarkable. It is also a testament to all of the Board’s current and former members, and the Metro staff, who have persevered in implementing a unified, long-term mobility vision to improve the quality of life for Los Angeles County residents.”

Since its formation in 1993, the agency has had a total of seven chief executive officers: Franklin White, Joseph Drew, Linda Bohlinger, Julian Burke, Roger Snoble, Arthur T. Leahy and Phil Washington. Washington, Metro’s current CEO, came to Metro from Denver’s Regional Transportation District in 2015 and has launched a new era in the agency’s transit expansion following the 2016 voter approval of the Measure M Traffic Improvement Plan. 

“At 25, we are only just beginning L.A. County’s transportation renaissance,” said Washington.  “When I came to Metro, I wanted to make Los Angeles’ public transportation system the best in the world.  We are now making rapid progress toward that goal. Measure M will change the face of Southern California and help us create an infrastructure inheritance for our children and grandchildren.”