Expo line running a little off track
With the scheduled opening of the new Expo rail line already pushed back a year a new problem has risen with the labor agreement that is being proposed by the Exposition Metro Light Rail board for phase two of the project.
The new project labor agreement being proposed by the board is a union-only agreement that would make the project unavailable to non-union workers. Essentially, workers who don't belong to a union would be unable to work on a project that is slated to open up thousands of construction jobs and create millions of dollars in work.
It is a job that Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction feels should be open to all workers and not just workers that belong to a union.
"Discrimination has no place in construction," said Christen, "This is an agreement between union interests and no one else." The best way to change something like this, according to Christen, is to "get the attention of the members of the community and the board."
What is puzzling to an organization like Christen's is that phase one was handled with an open contract that has allowed a variety of personnel to receive work.
This issue was the topic at the most recent Transit Business Advisory Council of the Metropolitan Transit Authority meeting held on Oct. 7. The estimated price tag of phase 2 has been set at $1.5 Billion dollars.
Phase two is slated to run from Culver City to downtown Santa Monica with a couple of stops close to the SMC campus at Olympic and 26th street as well as Colorado and 17th street.
Since the start of construction on the new Expo rail line in September things have also not stayed on schedule. The city has suffered setbacks since the start of construction on phase 1 which will run from Downtown L.A. to Culver City.
The line was originally slated to open in the summer of 2011 but has now been pushed back one year due to a number of delays. Consequently, these delays will make the cost of the project increase from $640 million dollars to a now estimated $900 million dollars.
The setback however will be more than just a money problem for the city. It is projected that the route will still not be completely finished by then which would cause metro to open a shortened route.
The shortened route would stop short of Culver City and instead only go to Crenshaw or La Cienega, which is about a mile short of the original plan.