Los Angeles Metro Rail
Rep. Waxman is a staunch supporter of mass transit and the expansion of LA Metro Rail to the Westside. In 2007, he authored legislation (P.L. 110-161) to remove a federal prohibition on tunneling for the project. That ban had been put in place after a 1985 methane gas explosion at a Ross Dress-for-Less store prompted Rep. Waxman to hold congressional field hearings that revealed safety risks in tunneling near underground methane risk areas along the original Metro Rail route. Rep. Waxman worked with Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa, the Metropolitan Transit Authority and the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to reexamine the safety issues in light of newly available tunneling technology. Because the NAS concluded that tunneling along Wilshire Boulevard can be done safely if new technologies and appropriate techniques are used, Rep. Waxman worked to reverse the tunneling ban. Routing, financing and planning decisions for the project are now proceeding at the local level.