OPINION – Public transportation is beneficial to many people across the country. Buses, subways, even ferries in some states are a cost-efficient way for children to go to and from school, parents to commute to work, and for people to easily and freely go about their daily lives. It’s no secret, however, that California’s public transportation systems have been experiencing problems.
The LA Bus System, the LA Metro Purple Line extension, and the recent news surrounding the high-speed rail train that President Trump recently pulled funding from are just a few of the examples of public transportation in California that wastes taxpayer dollars.
For starters, the Los Angeles Bus System has been hemorrhaging riders. In fact, over the past decade alone, the Los Angeles Bus System has lost over 25% of its ridership. A few reasons for the decline in ridership include decreased bus speeds, which have led to longer wait times, unsafe conditions associated with the rise in homelessness, and people moving further away from Los Angeles because of skyrocketing housing costs.
In addition to the Los Angeles Bus System, the extension of LA Metro’s Purple Line has rightfully received criticism from people not only in California but nationwide. The budget for construction of LA Metro’s new Purple Line extension has ballooned out of control. Currently, the project is—at a minimum—$400 million dollars over budget, a cost that will ultimately be felt by the taxpayer.
Also, construction of the project has moved 800 feet from the public right away. In fact, all subway construction is staged at the fence line of Beverly Hills High School and tunneling under the high school, through unexplored, underground oil fields.
Many California residents are taking a stand against this line extension. One being Lisa Korbatov, a conservative leader and former President of the Beverly Hills School Board who previously led the Stop the Purple Line campaign. She, along with many other California citizens, have been vocal about the harm this extension will cause.
The Purple Line extension is not the first time a transportation project in California has robbed citizens of millions of dollars. Just recently, a high-speed rail train that was supposed to connect Los Angeles to San Francisco was halted by President Trump’s Administration due to perpetual delays in construction that were costing taxpayers billions of dollars.
California transportation projects up and down the state have been plagued by disaster and have threatened residents’ pocketbooks.
Just like how President Trump pulled funding from the high-speed rail train, he along with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao should also pull funding from Section 2 of the Purple Line. The Federal Transit System must insist on the suspension of funds for this rogue route under a high school until there are true and meaningful environmental reviews regarding the harms and impacts on students and staff and the community at large.
California residents deserve the best public transportation, not projects that put people in harm’s way and waste taxpayer dollars. Hopefully, our state will remedy the problems facing the LA Bus System, the Purple Line extension, and the high-speed rail so that Californians can have safe and efficient public transportation.
By Jaivon Grant | Special to The OBSERVER
Jaivon Grant is a freelance columnist and political commentator