$2.1 billion from feds means Purple Line construction can begin


At a ceremony this morning in Washington, Mayor Eric Garcetti and Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky took part as Metro signed federal funding agreements that mean construction can begin later this year on the subway to La Cienega Avenue. You heard that right. The money is now in place to build the first phase of the Purple Line extension under Wilshire Boulevard, past Hancock Park and LACMA into Beverly Hills. "As public transit milestones go, they don’t get much bigger than this," Yaroslavsky posted on his blog. "The $2 billion truly an historic moment for our region."

From Metro's The Source blog:

Officials from Metro and the Federal Transit Administration signed a pair of agreements this morning in Washington D.C. for a $1.25-billion federal grant and a $856-million federally-backed loan to build the first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway under Wilshire Boulevard. We’ll post video of this morning’s event later.

The agreements clear the way for construction activities to begin later this year on the 3.9-mile addition to the Purple Line, which currently terminates at Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue. The first phase of the project will extend the line to the intersection of Wilshire and La Cienega Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Three new stations will be included in the first phase: at Wilshire and La Brea Avenue, Wilshire and Fairfax Avenue and Wilshire and La Cienega.

The first phase of the project is scheduled for completion in 2023 with a project budget of $2.821 billion. The Metro Board of Directors is scheduled this summer to select a contractor to build the first phase. The subway is one of 12 transit projects funded in part by the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by more than two million voters in Los Angeles County in 2008 (the measure passed with 67.93 percent approval).

Utility relocations are already underway on the first phase and a 75-foot-deep exploratory shaft has already been dug across the street from LACMA in order to validate and learn more about soil conditions in that area. A number of fossils were found, identified and preserved during the excavation of the shaft.

The disputed leg you keep hearing about, under Beverly Hills High School to Century City, remains to be funded, along with the eventual phase three past Westwood and the 405 to the VA hospital campus. That latter phase is not expected to finish before 2036. So the reporters and radio hosts who keep gushing about the purported "subway to the sea" need to update a bit. There are no current plans in Los Angeles for any subway to any sea.

Metro also previously (* fixed: not today) secured $830 million for the Regional Connector underground train across downtown Los Angeles to link the Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line.

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