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Expo Line Still Troubled, Culver City Mayor Slams Authority

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Apparently there are still problems with the junction where the Blue Line and the testing-phase Expo Line light rail cross, according to audio from today's Expo Construction Authority board meeting, posted on The Transit Coalition boards. The California Public Utilities Commission will not allow the train to open until that issue is fixed. "We've had some issues with signals [at the junction] dropping out that we're working with Metro and the CPUC to get resolved," Chief Project Officer Eric Olson said. (Back in December, Expo Construction Authority CEO Rick Thorpe said "I think optimistically we're a few days away in solving [the Blue Line signal issue].") The line was initially supposed to open in 2010 and after many delays, it's now looking more like the line will open to Culver City around May (the most recent estimate was for an opening to La Cienega in March or April). But really, who the hell knows at this point? Speaking for his city--and likely all of LA--Culver City mayor Micheal O'Leary excoriated the construction authority at the meeting today: "I'm constantly asked, 'When is the train coming?' First it was March or April, now it's mid-2012. I'm hoping you can be more specific... I promised [constituents] I will have an answer for [them], now I have to go to them and say, 'Well, it's even more vague.' Help me so I don't look more foolish than I look already." Thorpe blamed the junction problems and said "if all the stars align" the opening could happen in May.

Metro spokesman Marc Littman tells Curbed, "Metro has not made a decision on when Expo will open or if it will be just to La Cienega or to Culver City. There are still train control signal issues at the downtown junction but Expo and its contractor are working hard to resolve these. Metro is still able to run test trains through the junction but we have to satisfy the California Public Utilities Commission that issues such as train control at the junction have been resolved before we can announce an opening date." Littman would not elaborate on the signal issues.
· Exposition Light Rail Line Project Developments [Transit Coalition]
· Expo Line Archives [Curbed LA]