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PREFACE

creased mobility and reduced pollution. But in 2006, the im m inent future is massive immobility and staggering congestion. Right now locals pay a 'congestion tax' - ninety-three hours per com m uter per year lost in traffic delays - th at is the highest in the United States, and twice as high as it was in 1982. In the worst scenario, it could double again in another decade. In the late Bradley years - it should now be clear - Los Angeles wrote the textbook on bad transport planning and even worse project m anagem ent. The big-ticket projects of this era turned out to be costly fiascos: a Wilshire subway that didn't actually go dow n Wilshire Boulevard, or to the Eastside, for that matter; a light rail to the airport that didn't actually go to LAX; and a Alameda corridor that was designed to take truck-hauled containers off the Long Beach Freeway, but has failed to do so. Everyone loves to ride the subway, but few appreciate that it is underw ritten by huge operating subsidies - almost $27 per passenger - that have been financed out of the pockets of bus riders. Between 1991 and 1997, as fares increased, the bus system lost 17 per cent of its passenger volume or 71 million trips: hardly a victory for mass transit. Overall, mass transit accounts for only one out of every fifty trips w ithin the region. Likewise, both city and county have allowed politically pow erful devel­ opers - like Maguire Thomas at Playa Vista or Newhall Ranch in the Santa Clara River Valley - to dum p huge new volumes of traffic into the most congested nodes w ithout any real mitigation. The projected 70,000-resident Tejon Ranch near Gorm an (property formerly ow ned by the Chandler dynasty of the Los Angeles Times) will be even worse: the beginning of gridlock that someday m ay extend to Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley. Re­ gionally, we are no closer to real planning or coordination of housing, jobs and transportation th an we w ere fifty years ago. There is m uch talk about 'sm art grow th' and 'new urbanism ,' but, w ith few exceptions, the regional norm s are still dum b sprawl and senile suburbanism. Some politicians still invoke magic bullets and sci-fi fixes, like 200 m ph maglev trains, but Sacramento - w hich has recently siphoned off $2.5 billion in transportation funds to cover the budget deficit - is unable even to fill the potholes in our aging freeways. Southern California, as a result, is quickly turning into one huge angry parking lot. Congestion will inevitably drive away m ore jobs and business, while also fueling an ugly neo-M althusian politics - already audible on the AM dial - of blaming immigrants (whose environm ental footprint is actually the smallest) for declining physical and social mobility. 2. BRANCHVILLE In the late 1980s, boosters of the now forgotten 'L.A. 2000' scheme w ere claiming th at L.A. w ould soon become the new com m and center of the California and Pacific Rim economies, the 'headquarters of the 21st century'. The m ore incautious - perhaps they had smoked too m uch

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