MTA Responds to Waxman's Letter on Subway

Metro CEO Arthur Leahy replied to Rep. Waxman's letter about the Westside Subway Extension.

A top official restated Metro's commitment to safety in the Westside Subway Extension project and its choice for the subway station in Century City at Constellation and Avenue of the Stars in a letter to Rep. Henry Waxman.

"Safety has been and will remain our number one priority when considering all aspects of this and any other project, from its construction to its eventual operation," wrote Metro CEO Arthur Leahy in a response to a letter from Waxman. Leahy also wrote in the letter that concerns raised by Beverly Hills about the safety of tunneling under Beverly Hills High School were addressed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement and "could be successfully addressed and mitigated using standard methods and good engineering practice."

To read more Patch articles about the Westside Subway Extension, click here.

In the following statement released Friday, Waxman said he is committed to ensuring Metro "fully complies with safety measures" during the project:

Decisions for the Westside Subway must be driven by safety and the best available science. I am pleased that Metro CEO Art Leahy reaffirmed these fundamental principles in his response to my letter, as the Metro Board prepares to complete its environmental review.

It is imperative that the system include a stop in Century City as the line extends to West Los Angeles. The proposed location for the Century City Station deserves particular scrutiny because of the major seismic challenges foreclosing station options on Santa Monica Boulevard and the concern that a stop at Constellation Boulevard would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. 

It is vitally important that Metro abide by all of the provisions stated in their geotechnical and seismic studies and their responses to the scientific studies commissioned by the City of Beverly Hills regarding tunneling construction safety measures on the Constellation alignment. Many of these recommendations were also identified by the Independent Review Panel commissioned by Metro. I am committed to ensuring that Metro fully complies with these safety measures at every step of the process.

Leahy's letter is posted in full below. To read Waxman's original letter, .

The Honorable Henry Waxman
United States House of Representatives
2204 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515


Dear Congressman Waxman:

Thank you for your correspondence of April 12, 2012 in which you shared your strong support for the Westside Subway Extension and outlined your concerns with respect to tunneling and safety issues related to this planned transit project.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is committed to building the Westside Subway Extension in a safe manner. Safety has been and will remain our number one priority when considering all aspects of this and any other project, from its construction to its eventual operation. At the direction of the Metro Board of Directors, during the past year and a half, our agency conducted extensive geotechnical and seismic stUdies for both the Constellation and Santa Monica Boulevard alignments. These reports, prepared by preeminent geotechnical, seismic and engineering experts, found that the Santa Monica subway route in Century City would pass within and through the confluence of two major earthquake fault zones and is not recommended as a safe location for the Century City Station. Conversely, the Constellation route was found to be outside of the seismic risk areas and is considered to be a safe location for the Century City Station. These findings were confirmed by an Independent Review Panel that reported directly to my office.

The Final Environmental Impact Statement found that tunnels could be safely constructed under Beverly Hills High School and that the concerns expressed about this route could be successfully addressed and mitigated using standard methods and good engineering practice. The School District's extensive list of issues that were addressed included risk of settlement, noise & vibration, gassy ground & oil wells, tunneling through fault zones, use of the school as an emergency evacuation center, impacts on plans to expand and remodel the high school and overall risks to students, faculty and community. In all of the above instances, it was determined that there are reasonable designs and mitigation measures to successfully address these concerns.

Thank you again for your thoughtful correspondence regarding the Westside Subway Extension. Again, as I have shared with you in our conversations in Washington, D.C. and through this correspondence, safety has been and will remain our highest priority when considering all aspects of this project, from its construction to its eventual operation. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly at (213) 922-6888 with any questions related to this matter or any other transportation issue.


Arthur T. Leahy
Chief Executive Officer

bingo35 April 22, 2012 at 11:41 PM
ITA which makes Waxman's letter superfluous and just another reason he needs to find a new job. His generic response to any concerns are actually amusing. One can change the topic and get precisely the same response. Moron.
Joe Parker April 23, 2012 at 08:38 AM
@Chris Loos Your comment is fair. But the LA Times editorial was strange. I checked around and the LA Times did not talk to any of the Board members at BHUSD, nor the senior staff or the City Council. It was as if they had talked with only someone like Simon or a particular MTA Board member I know. It was as if someone rushed to get this out in order to sway the City Council not to vote to force Metro into a public hearing. If so, it didn't work. It was a 5-0 vote.
Mario H. April 23, 2012 at 09:07 AM
Centurycitysubway.org, shame on you! You know better than to ask that; and I'm not feeding your 'what if' hyperbole when you tacitly know that no one person or entity is perfect. Hey, I can sit in a crowded room or at a computer and bring up "what if's" and scare trusting people into a frenzy. That's what is happening in Beverly Hills right now; and that is tragic. I think Beverly Hills and the high school need to compromise: let the tunnel be; when tunneling reaches the high school, bore before classes start in the morning, after school when classes let out, during the weekends, and during pupil free days. Sure, it'll take forever, but think of it this way: if there's a cave in and a building collapses, the campus will get a brand spanking new building built up to code on Metro's dime. Joe Parker: please don't try to make the Beverly Hills Unified School District seem as though it has no resources. Parents with deep pockets or skills to donate (in law practice) can accomplish anything! By the way, that question is a quote from an earlier centurycitysubway.org post.
Joe Parker April 23, 2012 at 04:48 PM
@Mario H. Had no intention to plagiarize. If you say 2+2=4 and then I say the same thing, I'm just stating the truth as you are. And the truth is what we want to have good science and correct methodology. Then we can make intelligent decisions, not emotional ones or ones driven by political interests. I encourage you to watch the Board of Eduction meeting at 7 p.m. tomorrow.
Mario H. April 24, 2012 at 08:03 AM
Joe Parker: I'm with you on sound decision making. Facts should be presented; interested parties should be able to take them in calmly, weigh them carfully; and local trusted politicians should avail themselves for clarification. After all is said and done, this subway line is not even for us. It's for our progeny. The next generation does not see a car as a right of passage the way we did. They see it as a source of pollution along with buses and trucks. So, let's give them something they will want to use and put the stations in common sense locations. I'm obviously missing something or the people wouldn't be allowing their unruly passion to get the better of them. I'm very tempted to be there, even as a fly on the wall. Hmm?


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »