In 1963, Los Angeles politicians were given an offer too good to refuse. The Alweg Monorail Company, which had gained world-wide recognition for its demonstration monorail at the 1962 Seattle Century 21 Exposition, was looking to establish a major foothold in the world of urban rail transit. “We are pleased to submit this day a proposal to finance and construct an Alweg Monorail rapid transit system 43 miles in length, serving the San Fernando Valley, the Wilshire corridor, the San Bernardino corridor and downtown Los Angeles.” The entire system would have been built at no cost to the city.
Most people in Los Angeles today are totally unaware of Alweg’s offer. The subway system that today parallels only a tiny portion of what would have been the LA Monorail alignment is an extraordinarily expensive joke. An unfortunate joke that has cost USA and California taxpayers billions of dollars, not millions, and yet it still doesn’t travel far enough to be of any great value to most LA basin citizens.
What happened to the Alweg proposal? In their infinite wisdom, Los Angeles supervisors at the time rejected the wonderful offer in favor of no rail. There was much excitement for the proposal at the time, that is until Standard Oil got involved. Practically overnight support for the project disappeared amongst LA politicians. What could have been the start of monorail construction all across the USA was stopped cold before it even got started.