I found a list of all Paris Metro expansion projects, including rail in the suburbs, bus rapid transit, etc. (in French only, but the maps, dates, and ridership estimates are pretty clear). www.stif.org/IMG/pdf/DPI_TOTAL_FICHES_2013_BD.pdf I would love to see a fraction of this investment in LA. The LA metro area has a higher GDP than the Paris metro area, so we could in fact afford this. Ridership numbers are very good, reflecting the network effect and the high modal share for transit in the Paris region. We could also see numbers like this with investment in the core network, and some obvious tweaks that everyone here knows are necessary for regional interconnectivity (connect the Green line to Metrolink at Norwalk, etc.).
1. The Paris metro and RER expansion are mostly paid for by the French Govt, not the Paris city govt so it would be similar to the Federal Govt directly funding our Metro and Metrolink expansion. I'm not saying that's a good or bad thing, just that the investment incentives are different here. Without the deep pockets of a central govt, there is little doubt that Paris itself can afford the system it has now, let alone the expansion.
2. While you are correct that LA metro area has a higher GDP than Paris, the issue when building a metro and commuter rail system is geographic reach. The entire Paris metro area can fit in the LA county footprint. The Paris city (the 20 arrondissements) where 2.2 million people live is 34 square miles, roughly the same size as West LA. Imagine an LA inner core metro area that stretches from Santa Monica to only the 405 freeway and only between Wilshire Blvd and 10 freeway!
Agreed, Paris has a *much* denser core, and has a lot of other structural advantages over LA in terms of government funding, etc. The projects in that report are for the most part in the "suburbs" outside the city of Paris, but even there is much more dense than the vast majority of the LA metro area. Nevertheless, I feel very positive about the backbone of the LA system now being built, and I think much heavier investment is warranted. The purple line extension will have a massive effect on ridership and how people view the city.