The board of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will take up on Thursday the question of whether to conduct a feasibility study on converting the Orange Line busway into a light rail line.
The feasibility study would look at construction and engineering concepts, ridership and environmental issues.
Converting the Orange Line to light rail is supported by a number of elected officials and business groups such as the Valley Industry & Commerce Association. Metro, however, does not include an Orange Line light rail line in its long-range development plans.
Light rail would shorten travel times and accommodate more passengers than the current busway can, said VICA Chairman Coby King.
“It is also much cheaper than an underground subway, making it the most cost-efficient option,” King said in a prepared statement.
Taking the matter to the Metro board was spurred by Gov. Jerry Brown signing this month a bill repealing 1991 legislation prohibiting above-ground, at-grade rail from crossing the San Fernando Valley.
The board will also consider doing a feasibility study on connecting the Red Line and Orange Line stations in North Hollywood with the Gold Line Foothill light rail extension via a connection at Burbank Bob Hope Airport.
Both studies are a way to make sure the Valley’s transit needs are not being ignored, said Los Angeles City Councilman and Metro board member Paul Krekorian, whose district includes parts of the Valley.
“It’s an underserved area when it comes to transit,” Krekorian said in a prepared statement. “That’s why the time is right to start thinking about creating a high-capacity system that will serve the San Fernando Valley and connect it to the San Gabriel Valley and the L.A. basin.”