Government Issues

L.A. Metro breaks ground on Purple Line extension

Posted on November 7, 2014

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) leaders were joined by federal, state and local elected officials in the Mid-Wilshire District to break ground on the long awaited Metro Purple Line Extension Project, the largest, most ambitious public works project in the Western U.S., according to Metro.

In July, Metro's board of directors approved a contract with Skanska, Traylor and Shea (STS), a joint venture, to construct the Purple Line Extension Project. Construction of the subway extension will connect West Los Angeles to the region's growing rail network, making it possible to travel between Downtown Los Angeles and Westwood in 25 minutes.

The first subway segment will extend the Purple Line 3.9 miles from the existing Wilshire/Western Purple Line terminus near Koreatown into Beverly Hills. Three new underground stations are planned at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega, providing fast, frequent, high-capacity transit service farther west along busy Wilshire Boulevard.

The Purple Line Extension is a critically important rail project that is partially funded by the 2008 Measure R sales tax that was overwhelmingly approved by two-thirds of L.A. County voters. The first segment of the subway is expected to be completed in 2023 with a project budget of $2.821 billion. In addition to this local funding, Metro received a $1.25 billion Full Funding Grant Agreement from the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for the first segment.

The U.S. Department of Transportation also granted Metro a low-interest loan of $856 million from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) to complete the funding package for the project's first phase. Combined, these nearly $2 billion in project commitments represent the biggest federal transportation investment for a single construction segment in the history of Los Angeles County.

The remaining $821 million in project funding for the first segment includes Measure R, City of Los Angeles local funding, and other existing local and federal funds.

The project is planned to be built in three sections. Section two, which will include Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City stations, is scheduled for completion in 2026. Section three, which will include Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital stations, is planned to open in 2035. When all three project sections are complete, the Purple Line will extend westward from Wilshire/Western for nearly nine miles with a total of seven new stations.

Metro is currently seeking additional federal funding that could accelerate subway construction for Section two in the form of a $1.1 billion grant from the federal New Starts program and a $307 million low-interest loan from the federal TIFIA program.

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