Wednesday June 19, 2019
"It has been immensely rewarding to serve as Board Chair for an agency that is completely transforming the landscape of this region through exciting projects and innovative services," said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Kuehl. "Over the last year, I have been proud to see so many distinct and innovative community, workplace and transit initiatives come to fruition. I look forward to continuing to focus on our riders and our employees over the years to come, especially in the way in which our programs impact women and work to address their unique experiences and needs."
During her term as Board Chair, Supervisor Kuehl guided the agency through the start of updating the Long Range Transportation Plan and advancing the NextGen Bus Study, led the Board in adopting the Re-Imagining Los Angeles County Initiative to explore congestion pricing and to complete 28 projects in time for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics. Board Chair Kuehl also oversaw major construction accomplishments including the completion of the Southwest Yard maintenance and rail storage facility for the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the start and completion of tunneling for the first segment of the Purple Line (which recently celebrated its 50 percent completion milestone), major advances on modernizing the Blue Line (Metro’s oldest and busiest light rail line) and the launch of a project to improve safety and speeds on the Orange Line.
Kuehl also noted that she will continue to work with the Board and Metro CEO Phil Washington on improving the experience of those riding the Metro system and plans to work with Metro's Women and Girls Council to continue training and hiring more women in non-traditional career positions.
Incoming Board Chair James Butts, who will take over on July 1, expressed his interests in completing the NextGen Bus Study and implementing the first phase of a new bus network as well as the completion of the Crenshaw/LAX Line.
“This coming year is going to be an exciting time for the agency as we provide new bus and rail services for our riders and advance other major projects that are under construction,” said Butts. “I will focus on having the agency deliver projects on time and on budget, embrace new technology solutions that are costs-effective and build a winning team by engaging with all our regional partners.”
Citing the approval of the agency’s Vision 2028 Plan last year, Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington gave a one-year update on the progress made in implementing the plan as well as a look ahead at some of the exciting things happening in the coming fiscal year.
“We are following through on our promise to expand the system, but that takes time, so we are taking steps to improve mobility options in L.A. County right now,” said Washington. “In Los Angeles County, we are becoming a center of excellence for the transportation industry.”
In his report, Washington noted that the agency has successfully launched Mobility on Demand in partnership with Via and a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to provide on-demand first and last mile service around three major transportation hubs (Artesia, El Monte and North Hollywood stations). The ongoing pilot program makes it easier for riders to connect to and from Metro’s system and to open the mobility benefits provided by Transportation Networking Companies (TNCs) to a wider audience.
He also noted that Metro is working toward implementing a Microtransit pilot program later this year that will offer shorter on-demand trips for all customers for very attractive prices.
On the issue of congestion pricing, Washington stated that single occupancy vehicles have been prioritized in our county for far too long, resulting in an inequitable transportation system that is not sustainable economically or environmentally.
“We want to change this paradigm by providing a package of high-quality transit options along with pricing to reduce congestion, improve mobility and air quality, and ultimately provide a more sustainable and resilient L.A. County,” said Washington.
The agency will be pursuing a study on congestion pricing in the upcoming year to investigate the feasibility and framework for testing and implementing pricing strategies. The study places a priority on engaging to help develop widespread support for a pilot program.
Metro will continue to work on developing a Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Implementation Plan in the coming months that will include a series of actions that Metro and other local cities and the County can take to increase housing near transit and build communities in which there are a variety of ways to get around.
As part of its Joint Development Program Metro has made great headway in fighting displacement and gentrification over the last year and will continue its efforts in the coming year. “Metro has the most progressive affordable housing policies of any transit agency in the country,” noted Washington.
Currently, 31 percent of all units built on Metro-owned land are affordable units. Of the projects underway and planned, 85 percent are proposed to be affordable to households at or below 60 percent of our area’s median income.
On jobs and local hiring at Metro, Washington noted that Metro continues to create opportunities for people to work on Metro construction projects through the agency’s Project Labor Agreement/Construction Careers Policy. As a result, Metro has been able to put men and women from surrounding communities to work on Metro projects with 59 percent of workers coming from economically disadvantaged areas and over $209 million in total wages paid.
“Diversity and inclusion are core principles of all our hiring initiatives and all our workforce and hiring programs place a heavy emphasis on creating opportunities in the transportation infrastructure industry for women,” said Washington. “Our work to transform transportation in L.A. County is well underway.”
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is unique among the nation’s transportation agencies. Created in 1993, Metro is a multimodal transportation agency that transports about 1.3 million passengers daily on a fleet of 2,200 clean air buses and six rail lines. The agency also oversees bus, rail, highway and other mobility-related building projects and leads transportation planning and programming for Los Angeles County.
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