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July 1993 - Page 46


TRANSIT
l y target is the multi-million dollar electric trolley bus program. The debate over fi nancing L.A.'s new rail transit empire promises to be furious .

H onolulu
TRY, TRY AGAIN Mayor Frank Fasi, whose relationship with the Honolulu City Council has been testy in the best of times, says he'll hold a voter referendum on his plans to raise the excise tax by one half percent to pay for a $2 billion elevated rail transit line. The council twice rejected the idea by 5-4 votes and so the project was feared dead despite the award last year of a turnkey contract to AEG West inghouse to build the 16-mile line and sup ply 45 articulated cars for it.

E I Reno, Oklahoma
Officials of this town of 1 5,000 west of Oklahoma City have requested a federal grant to uncover the ancient Oklahoma Railway Co. interurban tracks in the downtown streets. Trolley ser vice was abandoned in 1 946. The idea is that this would be a first step in establish ing a tourist trolley line linking the old Rock Island depot with the business district.

I T'S A START, ANYWAY

T ucson's Old Pueblo H istoric Trolley debuted on April 1 7 , 1 993. On its inaugural run, cars 1 0 (an ex-PE single-truck Birney built i n 1 9 1 8) and 255 (a 1 953-built Osaka car) trundle down University Avenue on rails uncovered and restored by volunteers. M arie Herlihy

Los Angeles
FUNDING THREATENED California's deepening recession, which has already hit other government programs from po lice protection to welfare, is likely to take its toll on this area's ambitious transit construction program. L.A. County must dramatically scale back its 30-year transit plan because of a $20 billion shortfall caused mainly by a sharp decline in sales tax revenues. Only the 2 1 .7-mile Red Line subway may be spared, because about half its funding comes from federal matching funds. There may be cuts or stretchouts in the balance of the $ 1 8 3 billion construc tion scheme, but it will take months for a clear picture of the potential damage to emerge. The bad news was delivered by

the county's new transit chief, Franklin White, who heads the MTA, the new en tity that combines the RTD bus system and the LACTC planning and construc tion agency. The new agency faces an unprecedent ed shortfall of $550 to $650 million in the next fiscal year alone. Sure to be debated is whether to go ahead with the Blue Line light rail line from downtown to Pasadena, on which so much planning has been lav ished and for which the county purchased an entire division of the Santa Fe Railway for right-of-way. Chances are, money will be found to get this project going, but it may be stretched out, and further light rail pro posals such as the branch to Glendale Burbank, and to to the University of Southern California, may be shelved until the economy gathers steam. Another like-

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Seattle
R AIL PLAN READIED
A draft system plan, to be finalized this summer, recom mends 40 miles of commuter rail be tween Seattle and Tacoma, an 88-mile re gional rail transit system to be built by 2 0 1 0 (including 14 miles in tunnels) , and $1 billion worth of transit centers, park and-ride lots, maintenance bases and bus improvements . The current proposal i s estimated to cost $9 .3 billion, including $6.2 billion for rail. Planners assume that federal match ing funds would supply one-third, with two-thirds to come from voter-approved

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