A new MTA report has put a price tag
on the proposed "Subway to the Sea" Red Line extension, and a pittance it ain't: we're talking $4.8 billion, here.
That's a pile of money, of that there is no doubt. We may not be able to finish an extension all at once. However, a phased plan can be used to spread the financial burden over a number of years, and a unified lobbying effort by L.A., Santa Monica, and Bevely Hills should be able to effectively shake the Federal money tree in order to reduce the local burden.
Still, no one said that engineering ourselves out of the traffic mess we've created was going to come cheap. We've got to look at this project for what it is: an essential step towards modernizing the L.A. transit system, not just for us, but for the millions of Angelenos that will follow us in the decades (centuries!) to come.
Like London, like New York, like Chicago did in the 19th century, we've reached the point in our city's development where we must think long-term, and make the investments necessary to ensure L.A.'s mobility and future economic health.
That doesn't mean we should just rubber-stamp this thing. A public works project of this magnitude will require broad consensus, and that can only be built by transparent, inclusive debate.
Let the debate begin.