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Commuter rail links Los Angeles with suburbs.

Los Angeles-bound commuters rolled passed traffic-clogged freeways as Southern California's first rail commuter system, Metrolink, began carrying passengers between L.A. and its suburbs.

The new train line ushered in a new era of rapid mass transit for the region. Gary Hausdorfer, chairman of the Orange County transportation Authority said, "the future of transportation in California is rail."

The system-commencing operations a week before California voters decide whether to approve a $1 billion bond measure to expand rail ser-measure to expand rail service - was lauded by state, local and county officials as a measure that will improve commuting efforts and ultimately take as many as 45,000 cars of the road.

Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley and other officials attending inaugural ceremonies for the new rail service took the opportunity to tout the proposition and to praise a related measure on the 1990 ballot which helped fund Metrolink.

Two years ago commuters were promised that Metrolink would be up and running. Officials have delivered on that promise and hope voters will approve the pending proposition to expand the system to cover parts of Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.

Southern California Regional Rail Authority officials estimate that 5,000 passengers hopped aboard the new trains, taking advantage of Metrolink's free one week introductory fares. Although many passengers are concerned about the cost of distance-based fares, rail officials say the train can be cheaper than driving alone when the costs of gasoline, parking, maintenance and wear and tear on a car are factored in.

Currently, new equipment is being ordered and officials are hoping that commuters recognize that riding the train should surely beat fighting freeway traffic.
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Title Annotation:Los Angeles, California
Author:Padgett, Ingrid
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 2, 1992
Words:278
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