Good news for proponents of a Red Line subway extension along Wilshire Boulevard:
The panel investigating the feasibility of the project has concluded that advances in technology can mitigate the dangers
inherent in drilling a subway tunnel through the methane fields along the Wilshire corridor.
Those dangers, which became all too apparent after the Ross Dress for Less explosion
in the 80's, led Rep. Henry Waxman to push through a Congressional ban on subway tunneling in the area.
Getting the congressman on board now becomes the next step in the long (very long) process of reviving the MTA's subway construction program. According to the Daily News
piece linked above, he has expressed an interest in the new findings, and indicated that he is open to repealing the ban if his safety concerns are satisfactorily addressed.
That's huge. Repealing the ban would allow the MTA to move forward on the Red Line extension, taking the next step through the minefield that all massively expensive public works projects must face: how to pay for the damn thing.