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Expo Phase II Work Underway, MTA Chief Talks Cost Control

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Likely to the chagrin of those Cheviot Hills homeowners who filed a lawsuit over the second phase of the Expo line, early work is starting along the right-of-way on the light-rail extension to Santa Monica. According to a rep for the Expo Line Authority, preliminary engineering is currently underway and will be going on through 2010 (some surveying of the Phase II right-of-way has already taken place). Notices around the Westside alert neighbors that between Sepulveda and Cloverfield the authority is conducting field investigation, i.e. they're nosing around, collecting soil samples and documenting subsurface conditions with a truck-mounted drill rig (sort of similar to the preliminary work that went on for the environmental study of the Wilshire subway extension). The work is being done with a machine that the authority compares to a garbage truck, noisewise.

Meanwhile, at today's Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum luncheon, held at the Wilshire Grand Hotel, MTA CEO Art Leahy was asked about the state of the Expo Line, and addressed concerns about rising costs associated with the line. Sounds like someone's allowance is getting cut! "We’re going to go to the board in August and talk about cost control on projects," Leahy told the audience. Part of the worry, Leahy said, is that there won't be enough Measure R funds to help pay for future developments. "We need to have highly controlled design decisions, and money decisions," Leahy said, adding that a plan for funding is "important so we can deliver Expo II."

Who knows if the plan will remain in place, but earlier, the construction authority indicated that, unlike with the tardy Phase I, they would be using one company for design and construction of Phase II so it will be up and running by 2015. Also of note, the recent Expo signs are in aqua--a hint of the line's color designation?

· Expo Line Phase II [Official Site]
· Expo to Santa Monica Gets Go-Ahead, Construction Coming [Curbed LA]