L.A. County Wastes Nearly Half-Billion Dollars on ‘Trash Train’ That Hasn’t Left the Station

They call it the trash train, billed as the answer to a waste disposal crisis looming in the late 1980s and ’90s that, if left unaddressed, would leave tons of garbage rotting on Los Angeles County streets.

But the crisis never materialized: Literally and metaphorically, no train has ever left the station. A reduction in municipal waste tonnage from increased recycling, combined with a plethora of nearby landfills with decades of remaining space, have made an empty remote landfill at the end of the line unnecessary, placing the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County’s expensive trash train project on hold indefinitely.

Also known as waste-by-rail, the trash train will not leave the San Gabriel Valley for the desert — or anywhere else for that matter — until at least 2027, and maybe even later, said Chuck Boehmke, head of the districts’ solid waste management department, during a recent interview from the Districts’ North Whittier headquarters. …

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