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Case Studies

Our belief that the county can expand it rail transit network quickly, safely and cost-effectively if the capital were available and our politicians and citizens worked together is substantiated by the successful completion and current planning of numerous rail expansion projects across the world. A handful of particularly relevant projects and plans are below.


Tunneling Safely, Quickly and Cheaply in an E.U. Country While Using Union Labor

A quote from Madrid Metro President Manuel Melis in a May 2003 International Railway Journal article:

“Many cities around the world desperately need new metro lines, but they cannot afford to build them at an estimated [$300 million to $400 million per mile], nor be forced to wait a dozen years for the lines to become reality. The truth is these estimates of cost and time are simply wrong. In Madrid, with all humbleness, we have now proved it on more than one occasion.”

Under the leadership of Madrid Mayor Alberto Ruiz-Gallardon and Madrid Metro President Manuel Melis, the Spanish capital is safely and quickly completing a massive subway expansion program, safely, quickly and cheaper than any 1st world country. Indeed, in this European Union country with the 8th largest economy in the world, the cost of their 2003 subway expansion program was only $85 million per mile.

Melis attributes much of their low-cost and quick construction to:

* Dividing the large projects into smaller manageable segments overseen by a small group of project managers employed directly by the government
* Design standardization
* Pre-negotiated mitigation costs
* Responsive politicians who work with the project managers to resolve difficulties within 24 hours
* Extensive ground monitoring during construction
* Shallow and functional stations.


Simultaneously Operating Multiple TBMs to Complete the Wilshire Subway in 18 Months or Less

At a September 8th meeting arranged by Mayor Villaraigosa, several prominent engineering firms and tunneling experts informed the mayor that by simultaneously using 8-10 tunnel boring machines to carve twin-tunnels (one for each track), the 13-mile Wilshire subway to the sea could be completed in 18 months, and even less if the crews are allowed to work around the clock.

If one authority can complete 13 miles of subway in 18 months or less on the most traveled corridor in the southland using twin-bore tunnels instead of single-bore tunnels, its reasonable to deduce that projects operating simultaneously in five different parts of the county led by separate authorities can collectively build at least twice as much subway in the same span of time using single-bore tunnels.


Adding 315 Miles of Rail in 13 Years

Agence France-Presse, 20 November 2006:

“The Chinese capital will expand its subway system to 274 kilometers (169 miles) by 2010 and to 561 kilometers (348 miles) by 2020, surpassing London as the city with the world’s most extensive underground, the reports said. The city’s current metro rail system is 115 kilometers, with 54 kilometers (33 miles) of subway.”

Though there are distinct differences between Los Angeles and Beijing, the Beijing subway expansion project proves it is physically possible to construct a substantial amount of subway in a short span of time.