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Transit wants to hear voices of SCV

Posted: April 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 30, 2011 1:55 a.m.
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Santa Clarita resident Bruce Bingham wants to know whether he’ll be able to hop on the city’s Summer Beach Bus again this year, or if he’ll need to find another way to get to the coast.

Bingham was the sole community speaker at an annual Metropolitan Transportation Authority hearing at Santa Clarita City Hall on Friday morning.

The yearly public hearing is meant to give community members a local forum to share their unmet transportation needs, though the meeting has rarely drawn more than 10 public speakers, said Adrian Aguilar, transit manager for the city.

About 25,000 people use Santa Clarita Transit each day, traveling within the SCV and to downtown Los Angeles, according to city data.

Generally, another 20 local residents unable to make the morning weekday meeting will send in their comments or suggestions directly to the transportation authority, which then forwards those comments to state transportation officials, Aguilar said.

The transportation authority weighs community feedback, along with population data, when deciding how much money to allocate to the SCV’s transit infrastructure, from buses and roadways to bike paths.

Although the SCV lies outside the MTA service area, the transit organization receives a percentage of state Transportation Development Act money each year to help cover local transportation costs, said Michael Cano, transportation deputy to Los Angeles County Mayor Michael D. Antonovich.

Last year, the transportation authority funneled $4.5 million in state funding to the city, which was used to help run Santa Clarita’s bus system and to pay for some local roadway upgrades.

“I can tell you that Metrolink service in this area will be growing,” Cano said, addressing Bingham’s additional questions about expanded transport routes in the SCV. “You’ll see more options.”

One new option? Starting May 9, local commuters can board Metrolink’s express train, cutting the trip to downtown Los Angeles to 40 minutes, Cano said.

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