Manhattan Beach officials have put the brakes on a plan to hire a consultant to study the feasibility of adding a fixed-route "trolley" system in town.

The City Council on Tuesday night was set to vote on a $42,630 contract with Dan Boyle & Associates, one of a handful of vendors evaluated to do the work. But after some members expressed concerns about the cost and effort involved with running a trolley system - proposed as a way to provide better connectivity between the east and west sides of the city - the council shifted course.

Councilman David Lesser questioned the proposal to fund a trolley with money from Measure R, the sales tax passed by county voters in 2008 to support transit projects.

"My biggest concern is my feeling that the money could be better spent on augmenting other public transit routes," Lesser said. "These Measure R funds are precious. They can be used for many other purposes."

In the 1980s, Mayor Wayne Powell said, the city ran a trolley system that "failed miserably." He said he feared that introducing the concept again could be a "big boondoggle," and, like Lesser, expressed concerns about covering annual operating costs with Measure R dollars.

But the council on Tuesday didn't shut the door on potential mass transportation improvements.

Instead, the council decided to ask the consultant to take a broader look at the city's current transit options and analyze how Manhattan Beach could fill any gaps, assuming this doesn't overlap with another planning effort under way.


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The city in 2008 had hired another firm to evaluate a trolley plan, which never moved forward.

kristin.agostoni@dailybreeze.com

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