Friday, October 28, 2005

The Obvious Declared - The Obvious!,1,174689.story?coll=la-headlines-california

For many years, there has begin no question in anyone's mind - except in Henry Waxman's, of course - that the technology to put a subway underground Wilshire Boulevard, existed.

But to give some political cover to the aging solon, a distinguished panel was last week gathered from around the country and they read some reports that they had likely already read. Yesterday, they then anounced what they (and everybody else) already knew.

But, hopefully, they got in some sightseeing before reviewing the facts for the two minutes necessary before they announced... it was possible to build the subway down Wilshire. It would be a shame if they had come all the way out here for... nothing.

Richard Fausset Times Staff Writer October 28, 2005

A westward extension of Los Angeles' Red Line subway can be safely built below Wilshire Boulevard despite the presence of dangerous underground gases, a panel of tunneling and transportation experts concluded Thursday.

"By following proper procedures and using appropriate technologies, the risk would be no greater than any other subway systems in the U.S.," the group concluded in a report to local transit officials.

The preliminary decision by the five-member panel, which was convened by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, could bolster Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's vision of building a subway to the beach.Currently, the subway runs between Union Station and North Hollywood.

Federal law bans using federal money to extend the Red Line. The law was introduced by U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) after a 1985 methane explosion at a Fairfax-area clothing store. Concerns have also been raised about the presence of lethal hydrogen sulfide gas.

Earlier this month, Waxman said he would ask Congress to rescind the law if the panel concluded that tunneling was safe. On Thursday, Waxman said the conclusion was "encouraging," but said he would not seek to repeal the law until he had a chance to talk to panel members in the next few days.

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