It was a huge deal when, earlier this year, the Army Corps of Engineers decided to recommend that Congress approve the priciest and most comprehensive of four options for revitalizing the LA River. But now it looks like there might be a slight hitch in that vision, says KCET. Turns out, a 113-acre area along the river in Lincoln Heights, adorably known as Piggyback Yard (and formally as Los Angeles Trailer and Container Intermodal Facility), might be more expensive than originally estimated, and that means that the $1-billion plan could become the more-than-$1-billion plan. And that could be a problem.
Union Pacific, which owns Piggyback, isn't too keen on giving it up (the draft report released in 2013 called them a "reluctant seller"), and they submitted a comment letter along with the draft report that questioned whether the appraisal methods for the property accurately reflected how much it was truly worth. So, the Army Corps talked to their lawyers, and now they're double-checking all the costs and taking a closer look at all aspects of the estimates.
A rep for the Planning Division of the Army Corps' Los Angeles District tells KCET "The cost has gone up, the numbers aren't final, so I can't really go into detail." The Corps is "revisit[ing]" costs for both real estate and construction on both Alternative 20 (the $1-billion plan they most recently suggested) and on Alternative 13 (the smaller plan they recommended initially).
Since the Corps' agreement with the city is that any additional real estate costs would fall to Los Angeles to pay, that would mean that LA has to dig up the money to cover any expense above $1 billion. Since the city's not exactly rolling in the dough, it's possible that a higher pricetag could jeopardize LA's ambitious urban-waterfront dreams, though, for its part, the mayor's office says that money for the river project would come from sources outside the city coffers, including state funds and other federal sources.
The Los Angeles District of the Army Corps is still working on the final report on plans for the river. It should be done sometime in May or June, when it will be presented to Congress, who will decide whether or not to approve the project.
· Increased Price Tag Puts $1 Billion L.A. River Restoration Plan in Question [KCET]
· Feds Now Recommending Best and Biggest LA River Restoration [Curbed LA]
· Huge LA River Restoration Report Recommends $453MM Plan [Curbed LA]