Marking the first official project to begin construction under the new voter-approved Measure R transportation sales tax, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (L.A. Metro) broke ground on a four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line.
The extension of the dedicated busway will begin at the line's current terminus in Canoga Park and extend four miles north to the Chatsworth Metrolink/Amtrak Station. The extension will add new north-south mobility options and create a vital connection between Metro Orange Line service and the broader inter-urban rail system.
The groundbreaking ceremonies took place at the site of the first phase of construction - a north parking lot that will replace a south parking lot needed to accommodate current train passengers during construction. Later construction work on the alignment will commence in late 2009/early 2010. The busway extension is projected to open in mid-2012, more than three years ahead of schedule as a result of Measure R's passage.
In November 2008, Measure R was approved by a two-thirds majority of voters, committing a projected $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years. The tax goes into effect July 1, 2009. While the project is a Measure R deliverable, it is expected to receive additional state funding that will free up Measure R project funding for later use in transportation improvements within the same sub-region.
The tax measure will help fund dozens of critical transit and highway projects, create more than 210,000 new annual full-time equivalent construction jobs and infuse an estimated $32 billion back into the local economy, according to estimates by the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.
The LAEDC also estimates that the $215.6 million construction phase of the L.A. Metro Orange Line Extension project will create 3,000 annual full-time equivalent jobs as well as infuse $461 million in direct and indirect business revenues back into the local economy.