Raw tape for the award-winning series The 90's. Videomaker Nancy Cain interviews William Armento, manager of structures for public transportation in Los Angeles, about the proposed Los Angeles subway system. He talks about the advantages of subway systems, and the difficulty of convincing some diehard car drivers to use public transportation. Despite this, Armento is still optimistic that everyone will make the switch if the public transportation is good enough. "I think the subway has a better expectation for survival in the future than the automobile." He talks about the difficulties faced by public transit programs, as the Bush administration is threatening to cut all federal funding and force communities to fund construction themselves.
00:00Copy video clip URL William Armento, seated in his office, explains that he is the manager of structures for public transportation in Los Angeles, and goes on to explain the benefits of a subway system.
01:06Copy video clip URL Armento explains that the subway is a great system because it has its “own right of way.”
01:35Copy video clip URL Armento thinks that the success of the subway in San Francisco indicates it would be a success in Los Angeles. He discusses a recent earthquake’s effect on subway ridership in San Francisco.
02:33Copy video clip URL Armento talks about strategies to make people change from cars to the subway, because it is convenient, economical and dependable.
03:23Copy video clip URL Armento and Cain continue to discuss the earthquake in San Francisco, and the safety of subways during earthquakes. Armento reinforces the structural safety of subways in comparison to bridges and other structures during earthquakes. “That’s the safest place to be.”
04:56Copy video clip URL Armento says that they plan that the subway system will always be used: “We’re designing it for the current needs and with the expectation that it’s a forever thing.”
05:52Copy video clip URL Armento says that the subways in New York have improved greatly, are no longer dark and dirty, and are well-illuminated.
07:22Copy video clip URL Armento claims the LA system will be similar to the San Francisco system, with improvements in the technology: better interior, better control, and a smoother ride.
09:23Copy video clip URL Armento explains it will be an electrical system.
09:40Copy video clip URL Cain mentions some criticisms of the systems, and Armento responds by pointing out problems with traffic and freeways.
11:35Copy video clip URL Armento talks about the sbuway system being used by people who cannot drive, and says that those people must be given a mode of transportation because buses are not sufficient, since they compete with cars on the streets.
12:43Copy video clip URL Armento talks about his own history with the project, and says the preliminary designs came out in January of 1982. Now, in 1990, he says they have just over 4 miles under construction, because of funding problems. He compares this to the San Francisco system, that created 70 miles in 10 years, and did not have any funding problems.
14:58Copy video clip URL Armento says the LA program plans to combine heavy-rail (with its own right-of-way) and light-rail (a trolley system) for a total of 150 miles. In July, they will have 20 miles of light-rail ready to be used.
17:18Copy video clip URL Cain questions Armento about specific routes to Beverly Hills, and they go on to discuss the specific routes the subway will take.
18:33Copy video clip URL Armento says, “It’s a question of the funding,” when Cain asks about when the 150 miles will be operable.
19:35Copy video clip URL Armento says that the Bush administration is taking away federal funding and saying that the state should fund the project.
20:20Copy video clip URL The interviewer thinks that perhaps the construction itself causes some of the traffic problems, but Armento denies this. He details the regulations with which the city provides the contractors.
22:48Copy video clip URL Armento himself takes the bus every day, a 20 mile trip on the freeway.
24:29Copy video clip URL Cain turns the conversation to environmentalists, and Armento sees no reason why they should object, because there is no pollution caused by the subway.
25:20Copy video clip URL Armento says, “The subway has a better expectation of survival in the future than the automobile.” He talks about the benefits of electrical power as opposed to fossil fuels.
27:30Copy video clip URL Even though he is a great supporter of trains, he sees the “ideal” transportation system as being by foot or by bicycle, and not needing to travel.
30:30Copy video clip URL Shots around Armento’s office, and he briefly talks about his family. He has worked with subways for thirty years, and lists these work experiences.
34:10Copy video clip URL End of tape.