Metro construction puts Beverly Hills High School students at risk

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By Andrew Sarega

August is finally here and summer is coming to an end for students. After a few months of enjoying the great California weather with family and friends, it’s time for parents to go back to school shopping and prepare their kids for what the upcoming year of learning will bring.

However, there is an unfortunate cloud hanging over some students as they get ready to head into the new academic year. It's not budget cuts to education programs or other issues that often strike debate, and many times, frustration among parents and students. Instead, believe it or not, this dark cloud comes in the form of a train.

LA Metro has been in the process of expanding metro lines around LA County, but not all of the projects have been welcomed by the community. Section 2 of the Purple Line, which would connect Century City to Downtown LA, has been met with strong pushback from locals.

One reason is that the project is going to cost taxpayers a minimum of $400 million in additional funding than originally promised. However, many critics raise concerns about the Purple Line that expand beyond money and into something far more important. Our children's safety.

You see, the extension of the LA Metro Purple is set to run directly under Beverly Hills High School. This is dangerous for students and teachers as there are unmapped abandoned oil wells filled with toxic methane gas under the high school.

Furthermore, construction for the Purple Line could also cause continuous disruption to students learning throughout the year. Right now, LA Metro plans to carry out construction right up to the fencing of the school. This will cause noise pollution and fill the air with harmful dust particles that students, teachers, and parents should not be breathing in.

Thankfully, leaders and members of the community have stepped up to voice their displeasure with the newly planned routes. Lisa Korbatov, who is the former President of the Beverly Hills High School board, started the “Stop the Purple Threat” campaign to push back against Section 2 of the Purple Line. She is one of the many local leaders who stood firm against this extension.

Right now, LA Metro plans to carry out construction right up to the fencing of the school. This will cause noise pollution and fill the air with harmful dust particles that students, teachers, and parents should not be breathing.

But, sadly, these dangers haven’t proven to be enough so far for local officials, as LA County continues to push forward with the plan to tunnel the metro line under Beverly Hills High School.

However, local politicians are not the only individuals who can assist in stopping section 2 of the Purple Line. President Donald Trump and his Transportation Secretary have the power to pull funding from this boondoggle of a project. The President has pulled funding from similar transportation projects in our state and I would encourage him to do the same with Section 2 of the Purple Line.

With the new school year upon us, I hope we find a solution that will end the section 2 extension of the Purple Line. Every student should feel safe in their learning environment. Unfortunately, if this construction continues students won’t have that luxury.

Andrew Sarega is a city councilman in La Mirada.

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