John Powers writes that Boston’s advantage in an Olympic bid could be transit and walking, and, “by contrast, Los Angeles would have five of its facilities in Long Beach, 25 miles to the south” (“Possible advantage in Olympic bid,” Page A1, Sept. 16). This comparison ignores the LA Metro Blue Line, a light-rail line opened in 1990 between downtown LA and downtown Long Beach. It carries 90,000 riders daily, a level of demand that would overwhelm any of the MBTA Green Line branches.
The comparison also ignores pedestrian and bicycle master plans that both LA and Long Beach have undertaken recently, as well as a revival of Olmsted’s Los Angeles River plans. And it ignores the half-cent sales tax that LA County voters approved in 2008 to accelerate transportation projects, including five rail corridors.
Meanwhile, the Green Line extension to Somerville is years behind its legal obligations, and Massachusetts voters are contemplating further undercutting transportation funding by removing inflation adjustment for the gas tax.
True, the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics relied so heavily on freeways that organizers reputedly had helicopters ready to airlift stalled cars that might cause gridlock. Boston may have had a transit and walking advantage then, but we’ve fallen behind in the past 30 years.