In light of the recent controversy surrounding the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the organization’s questionable decisions and research, many critics are likening MTA’s actions to the infamous monorail refusal of the early 1960s.
As The Monorail Society reports, in 1963 the Alweg Monorail Company, looking to establish a major foothold in urban transit, approached the MTA with a proposal for a rapid transit system that would serve the San Fernando Valley, the Wilshire corridor, the San Bernardino corridor and downtown Los Angeles.
Already world famous for its demonstration at the 1962 Seattle Century 21 Exposition, Alweg proposed a rail line 43 miles in length that would completely absolve the city of Los Angeles of any construction or financial risks.
“This is a turn-key proposal in which a group will share risk, finance the construction, and turn over to MTA a completed and operating system to be repaid from MTA revenues,” said Alweg president, Sixten Holmquist in a letter to the MTA, dated June 4th, 1963.
Costing $105,275,000 for the entire system, Alweg also agreed to conduct expansion studies for the entire Los Angeles area if the offer was accepted.
However, despite widespread excitement over the proposal, support for the project quickly disappeared, and the proposal was denied.
Instead of this innovative and almost risk-free proposal, the MTA later developed a subway system that covers a small portion of what the LA Monorail alignment would have covered but at an exponentially higher price. As the Monorail Society notes, at the cost of billions of dollars to taxpayers, the current system still doesn’t cover enough area to be of great value to most LA basin citizens.
On the topic of the current subway system and the Alweg proposal, world-renowned sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury recently wrote, “So kill the subway and telephone Alweg Monorail to accept their offer, made 30 years ago, to erect 12 crosstown monorails–free, gratis–if we let them run the traffic. I was there the afternoon our supervisors rejected that splendid offer, and I was thrown out of the meeting for making impolite noises.”
Widely regarded as one of LA’s worst decisions, many observers are beginning to notice the poor thinking behind the LA monorail denial is starting to sound strangely similar to the MTA of today.
Whether it’s the organization’s flawed science regarding the Beverly Hills High School faults or its steadfast refusal to alter its position in light of the California Geological Survey debunking its research, the MTA’s questionable decision making processes are striking some as eerily close to history repeating itself.
At just nine miles, the impending Westside subway extension is forecasted to carry only four percent of overall ridership for an exorbitant $9 billion.
“This county deserves to have its transportation decisions made in the most financially feasible way possible, in a way that uses less waste and more logic” said Jake Manaster, BHUSD’s Board of Education president. “The political aspects that are seemingly driving these illogical financial moves are both interesting and troubling.”
PR Firm: The Publicity Agency
SOURCE: Beverly Hills Unified School District
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