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Eighties Subway-Staller Henry Waxman Enters Purple Line Fray

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Congressman Henry Waxman is known to many locals as the guy who helped pass legislation in the 1980s that banned subway construction in LA over methane concerns, though many also believe he was just caving to Westside NIMBYism that opposed transit expansion. Though he did reverse course in the 2000s and author legislation that reversed that ban, today we're feeling a bit of deja vu. Beverly Hills Patch reports that the powerful Westside politician wrote a letter to Metro announcing he's heard a "great deal of concern from the Beverly Hills community about the proposed Century City station at Constellation Boulevard, because of the possible safety risks involved with tunneling under Beverly Hills High School." Waxman says BH "has made a strong case that the [Constellation route that would bring a station to central Century City and send the tunnel under the high school] poses safety risks and would be less desirable for cost, speed and ridership." We're not really sure about his ridership argument--even BH officials would have to concede that a stop on Santa Monica Blvd., across from a golf course, would get fewer riders than one in the middle of CC (Metro's studies show a Constellation stop would bring thousands of extra riders to Century City every day).

Waxman does stay mostly neutral on the station placement, though, urging Metro to "only chose a route that would require tunneling under the school if there is a definitive conclusion that it is the safest alternative." Definitive is a tricky thing, since everyone and their mother is commissioning their own study--Beverly Hills paid for two, with one pretty much agreeing with Metro's findings, and another that brought up methane issues with the Constellation stop. Metro blasted that report as specious, and says it will not alter their plans. Meanwhile, Beverly Hills Unified School District has their own study that has yet to be released.

Upon the urging of BH officials, the Federal Transit Administration, which is paying for some of the subway, decided to extend public comment on the project until May 22, reports the LA Weekly. It's not clear if that will change Metro's decision to certify the final environmental docs for the subway at their board meeting on April 26. Back to Waxman--if he does back BH, something tells us he'll face a bit more resistance from the 99% than he did in the Reagan years.
· Rep. Waxman Writes Letter on Westside Subway Extension [BH Patch]
· 90210's Way or the Highway Archives [Curbed LA]