WASHINGTON (CBS) —Transit leaders from Los Angeles, Orange County and across the nation visited Capitol Hill on Monday to ask Congressional panel for a long-term financial commitment to mass transit.

The visit comes as the Southland’s first rush-hour express rail system to downtown Los Angeles is set to debut in May, which could reduce commuter travel times by up to 30 minutes each way.

As gas prices soar past the $4-a-gallon mark, transit officials expect the pilot program from Metrolink to become a more attractive alternative to driving to work, particularly for residents of far-flung suburbs such as Palmdale and Lancaster.

However, Los Angeles County MTA CEO Arthur Leahy tells KNX 1070 that the local transit systems will have a hard time luring commuters out of their cars an into buses and trains until on-time performances drastically improve.

Leahy says operators must focus on punctuality in order to better position themselves for funding in this economically-challenged climate.

After a six-month evaluation period, the express service may be expanded beyond the Antelope Valley and San Bernardino County to other outlying areas, officials said.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (3)
  1. mister s says:

    Ur an idiot. The illegals drive vehicles just like the rest of us,….. just without a license. Thats why LAPD changed the rules on impounding vehicles at DUI check points……. its discriminatory against people that are breaking the law in the first place.

  2. Alek F says:

    Oh, no…
    The mass transit has already suffered significant cuts,
    and buses are practically unusable, because they just run so rarely, especially midday.
    Cutting transit even further will only reduce ridership and force people back into their cars while paying astronomical prices for gas.
    How come other countries ARE able to maintain good level of transit service DESPITE the economy! While America tends to find excuses to reduce funding to transit… America needs to yet learn a lot from the rest of the world

  3. Greg Tedesco says:

    I sure am glad we spent 1.5 TRILLION on Bush’s wars! That really helpped us a lot. Killing half a million Iraqis was really great for America. Big oil getting 40 billion, and big corn gatting 30 billion per year is really helping us also.

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