City Council Agrees to Spend More to Fight for Metro Extension

The City Council last night chose two consulting firms to which it will pay a total of $611,390 to examine the cost of a Metro rail extension through the City of West Hollywood. The decision to authorize that expenditure means West Hollywood will have spent at least $2 million to lobby for the Metro extension.

That expenditure sparked a discussion among council members about what West Hollywood ultimately will pay for the extension and how much the City of Los Angeles will contribute.

“We’ve already spent $1.3 million. Why spend more?” asked Councilmember Lauren Meister, referring to the previously approved cost of lobbying to have West Hollywood moved up the list for consideration as Metro evaluates new projects made possible by the passage in 2016 of Measure M. The L.A. Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s board of directors voted in September to screen five options for an extension and chose two to three for an environmental review.

Measure M authorized a one-half cent increase in the county sales tax to fund Metro’s overall growth plans, prompting many cities and neighborhoods to lobby to be one of Metro’s earliest projects. In response, the Metro board has adopted an “early project delivery strategy,” which uses certain criteria to assign points to projects and rank their priority. The Metro extension of the Crenshaw /LAX line had been scheduled for 2041-2047. Accelerating it means construction could begin as early as 2020.

One of the criteria for ranking projects is whether a local jurisdiction is willing to allocate at least 10% more than the required 3% contribution to the local project. The mandatory 3% contribution would cost West Hollywood between $44 million and $66 million, depending on which route Metro finally chooses. An additional contribution of between 10% and 25% could cost West Hollywood between $70 million and $550 million.

Meister questioned whether the City of Los Angeles, through which as much as 70% of the Crenshaw/LAX extension will run, also is paying to move the extension up the Metro priority list. City staffers said it is not.

Councilmember John Heilman said he agreed that the cost to West Hollywood is high. But Heilman said the investment is worthwhile given that West Hollywood has lobbied for years to get a rail extension and has failed to get Metro’s support until recently. Councilmember John D’Amico criticized the failure of the City of Los Angeles to invest in moving the extension up the priority list, as did Mayor John Duran. Duran, however, noted that West Hollywood, as a small city, had relatively little power compared with the City of Los Angeles in such matters.

Four of the five options for the extension involve West Hollywood. Those options include routing the extension along San Vicente Boulevard, along La Cienega Boulevard, along Fairfax Avenue and along La Brea Avenue and a route up Vermont Avenue that doesn’t cross West Hollywood.

The routes that look likely to provide the most benefit to WeHo are the San Vicente Route and the La Cienega Route. Each of those would take Metro trains through dense areas of the city.

A memo to the City Council from City Hall staffers states that the Metro environmental impact report is “the final and most critical step towards a shovel-ready project as environmental clearance identifies a locally preferred alternative from a narrow option of alternatives and renders a project eligible for state and federal funding and more attractive to private investors.”

HR&A Advisors and Scully Capital Services, the firms that the city will contract with, will look at options for paying the additional 10%.

One option would be an “enhanced infrastructure financing district” (EIFD). “EIFD’s allow local jurisdictions to capture a portion of the tax revenue generated in a designated area by property value increases in that area,” the city staff memo explains. Other options include enacting a local sales tax to cover the Metro expenses and issuing bonds backed by money the city expects to receive from Measure M.

Metro also will evaluate projects based on whether a city will streamline the construction permit process.

  1. If you branch a new pink line from the purple line up San Vicente you can stop at ceders/bev center
    and a stop at smblvd/clubs. This would reduce a lot of drunk drivers. Make it work WeHo. Oh then make the line go west down smblvd and connect to purple.

  2. West Hollywood has been clamoring for a rail line for decades and now that the Crenshaw/LAX Line is very close to opening (as early as a year from right now), the town has never been closer to achieving this goal than right this minute! I agree with Steve (Hymon of Metro I’m guessing) that a 2020 start of construction is way too premature – an alignment for the rail line needs to be determined first! Environment impact studies need to be done, too. But the to have the northern extension of the Crenshaw LAX Line into WeHo in time for the 2028 Olympics can be a realistic, albeit an overly optimistic, goal West Hollywood could attain. Even if WeHo misses it by a few years, that’s much better than the current 2041-2047 projected timeline. As a long time New Yorker (who’s visited LA in 2016 and traveled on Metro and Metrolink), we’ve had major rail projects that have taken many years to complete (Second Avenue Subway) and some still under construction years after they were supposed to be done (Metro-North’s extension into Grand Central Station), I’m personally rooting for West Hollywood to finally get that much needed rail line.

  3. The so/called leadership of Weho has a stereotypical idea of “progress”, a politically correct progressive vision of increased housing density and less auto use. I fail them on trying to develop weho as a community and failure to weigh the impact the metro will have on Weho’s identity. Basically with an integrated metro system wehos separate identity will soon be a thing of the past, an historical footnote like the settlement of Sherman is now. There are positive alternatives which are more conducive to keeping wehos community identity alive but that would require a degree of originality and independence which is beyond the capacity of our small town leaders. Unfortunately we’re really in the minor leagues when it comes to leadership.

  4. Every time you post an article about rail into West Hollywood, you throw in the line about construction starting in 2020.

    Metro has NEVER mentioned this as a start date! The route is still up for discernment. I suppose if the route is selected by 2020, some West Hollywood official could have a ceremonial shovel in the ground. However, Metro would have to survey the entire chosen route, determine utility relocation, and purchase any land for station entrances and tunnel boring machine entries.

    All this, after an environmental impact study is completed. The whole preconstruction process takes years. Please stop using that 2020 date — it’s misleading.

  5. My only concern about the subway stopping in West Hollywood is that it might increase crime here by making it easier for criminals to get here. I think that public safety measures should be put into place such as a mini-sub-station of the Sheriff’s Department at each train station so that people feel safe and those with ideas of committing crime will think twice when the first thing they see when they get off the train are Sherriff’s Deputies. Public safety should be the number one concern. Residents should always come first. Just because visitors spend money here, it does not benefit the Residents. Generally, I think West Hollywood should increase the amount of Deputies by 25%. With all the new Apartments buildings going up, the Law Enforcement should increase accordingly. The City really needs to increase the Sheriff’s budget, but also increase Civilian oversight.

    1. Why are you perpetuating the myth about increased crime resulting from expanding public transit, specifically subways? This is perception has been disproven throughout every major city across this country. Many studies actually show a decrease in crime believed to be a result of better access to jobs and increase quality of life around stations.

      It’s fine if you support increasing deputies on patrol throughout our City, but base it on factual information, not disproven myths. (also, check your population figures cuz if you’re basing deputy increases on increases in resident population, you’re going to be quite disappointed in the number of deputies gained)

      Nothing irritates me more than when someone, who has the ability and access to truthful information, makes false claims or perpetuates false narratives.
      It may be idealistic, but I look to my leaders for truth, so when someone running for public office perpetuates such myths, I find it shameful and shows their inability to lead.

      1. No problem Josh. I have my beliefs and you have yours. I respect your opinion, but I don’t agree with it. I lived at Hollywood and Vine when the red line opened a station there. I saw the impact, some good, some not so good. It will definitely change the small town feel we currently have.

        I talk to Deputies at coffee with cops. They say that they could use more resources as the population grows. I trust their opinion. I also have a friend who is a deputy and she says the same thing about West Hollywood

        I am here (Wehoville) as a Resident, am not looking for Votes. If you don’t trust me, don’t vote for me.

        I’m glad that we have this venue to exchange opinions and ideas in a civil manner.

    2. Perhaps you might also advocate a wall around West Hollywood built with crenelations for the increased Sheriff presence you envision for those that are “coming for us”. A cop in every doorway. Tales of the bogeyman coming are best left with childhood fantasy. Every individual is able to demonstrate and reinforce respectful behavior. Your argument has no relevance to the proposed subway. Potential leaders have their best skills honed by studying factual information and making rational decisions. This is not play school or play government.

      1. “They” are already here and, have been for a long time. Their power base is sustained by “our acceptance of their Necessary Illusions of omnipotence on their part and of hopelessness on our’s. Believing in yourself to overcome those in power may seem like an impossible revolutionary task, until you realize that the reality of nature favors the struggle of the oppressed!

    3. The problem is significantly more complex given that West Hollywood for what it is in NOT only having to deal with crime coming about do to socioeconomic motivations of perpetrators but, more significantly crime motivated by hate! Recall the Men Screaming Anti-Gay Expletives at the Big WeHo Starbucks? The article also from the WEHOville even goes on to mention a series of hate crimes happening in West Hollywood targeting LGBT individuals. Please do note that Law Enforcement with all their great resources chose to drop the issue as opposed to getting to the bottom of it but, I didn’t! What do you think I may have found that makes the establishment so uncomfortable to pursue?

      Being non-white has worked against me my entire life with the exception of going undercover and having my capabilities completely underestimated or even being suspected of having any motivations beyond short term self interests. True the men involved in the gay bashing hate crimes were men of color in many instances of lower socioeconomic status and education motivated by a great deal of homophobia but, ask yourself just where does this hatred come from? Having followed these people it turns out that many well funded right-wing groups along the lines conservative christians run by white male corporate elites have been directly stoking the fears of the LGBT community in South and East Los Angeles as they effectively did with pushing the anti-LGBT marriage Prop 8 in late 2008. According to the Washington Post, the National Christian Foundation “funds a lot of the groups aggressively working to chip away at the equal rights of LGBT Americans.” The Family Research Council, which expressly says on its website that it “believes that homosexual conduct is harmful to the persons who engage in it and to society at large,” has been deemed an “extremist group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

      THE ROLE OF THE POLICE IS PROTECTING CAPITALISM NOT protecting oppressed people who are the intended victims of capitalism! (Someone wanting some serious fun now should tell Hank Scott I cited a source that the WEHOville should be more like!) YES some more community oriented policing with the proper oversight would be more effective in keeping the light rail system safe as well as the rest of West Hollywood. First they need they need to make the WeHo Security Ambassadors “Community Service Officers” under the Sheriff’s Department as opposed to the private sector scam, I’ve worked as a Community Service Officer (CSO) and a Private Security Officer, the Public Sector CSO works out better for all involved without adding costs that line the pocket of wealthy business interests.

      The WEHOville can be highly effective in keeping down hate crimes and keeping perpetrators from coming here in the first place via our new mass transit by deterring the very source. I’m doing it even through the comment section! I remind the hate groups that they can easily be tied to hate crimes they inspired and found responsible for damages in a Civil Case, where I will see to it that a good portion of settlement money is spent promoting the most Left Wing Civil Rights Groups and LGBT causes possible. Also in a criminal case of gay bashing inspired by corporate elite white males, I remind them that “if they truly hate homosexuality the multicultural experience of prison should be avoided by them at all costs!”

  6. With the increase in hotel stock, and what I anticipate will be an increase in population density over that time period, I think this is money well spent. It is less than the West Hollywood Park Phase II, and will provide more benefit to the city, its residents, and its visitors (who spend money here). The city has a huge surplus, and that aside, there’s plenty of time to figure out how to pay for this. The increase in TOT, with all of these incoming hotel rooms, as well as the Cannabis tax, which will be on the ballot, are two potential sources of income. Of course, City of LA should be paying their fair share here, considering the benefit that city will get from this.

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