ah, promises*

Friday, December 03, 2004, at 06:07AM

By Eric Richardson

So I haven't watched last night's debate yet -- I went to sleep at 4pm yesterday and didn't wake up until 9am this morning. I did tivo it, so I'm planning to check it out this evening. That said, I saw an interesting tidbit in today's LA Times coverage.

Villaraigosa, who represents an East Los Angeles council district, said he would extend the Red Line subway to the beach.

Did he really?

If so, do these candidates even listen to what they're saying up there?

I would absolutely love to see a Red Line extension to Santa Monica, but the logistics are absolutely breathtaking.

  • Let's say it's 13 miles down Wilshire from Wilshire/Western to the end. Right now the estimated costs for the 3 mile Red Line extension to Wilshire/Fairfax are running around $300 million/mile. So a 13 mile project would cost $3.9 billion.

  • You have to get the no tunnelling under Wilshire law overturned, or waste time going around its boundaries.

  • You have to get the sales tax restrictions on subway spending overturned.

  • And maybe most importantly, the city doesn't control the MTA. The MTA is a countywide agency on whose projects the city of LA gets a voice. A big voice, certainly, but still just a voice.

Hopefully what he really said, or at least what he really means, is that he'll do what he can to get the process started. Because no matter what there's no way a line, even one approved today, would be running before a newly elected mayor termed out.

I would think it might be cheaper to just build a beach at Wilshire/Western.

Updated (2pm): Revised my distance estimate to a more realistic 13 miles down Wilshire.