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Los Angeles pulls metro funding

LOS ANGELES this week suspended plans for a £1.25bn extension to its Metro system.

The decision by the LA Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board sparked legal threats from firms seeking compensation for time spent working on the three stage project. The County will instead explore plans to develop the outdated and under-funded bus network, seen by politicians in road- locked LA as the most cost effective and credible alternative to the motor car.

The decision halts work for at least six months on the relatively advanced Eastside Extension, as well as the Pasadena leg and the Mid-City spur. It came in the face of escalating costs on the ambitious project. LA has already spent some £5bn on the project, which by 2001 will link downtown to the Hollywood Hills, but the city fears losing federal funding for the project unless costs are controlled.

The extended network was expected to be in place by 2004, despite a catalogue of spectacular tunnelling failures and construction errors, mainly on Segment 2 beneath Hollywood Boulevard. Around £190M is thought to have already been spent by the County on planning the extension.

Alastair Biggart, project manager for the Jacobs/Mott McDonald-Hatch/AC Environment joint venture which was set to start work on the £53M construction management contract for the Eastern Extension, said it was assessing its position.

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