May 30, 2012

L.A. Metro approves remaining phases of Westside project

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (Metro) board of directors voted to approve the remaining portion of the $5.6 billion Westside Subway Extension Project, including the final approval of Metro staff recommendations for a Constellation/Avenue of the Stars subway station in Century City.

The action officially approves four new stations and alignments, adding the remaining five miles to the approved and certified subway extension project. The board's previous action in April only approved the initial project phase from Wilshire/Western to Wilshire/La Cienega. The entire project will now enter into final design upon approval from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

Metro will now seek a Record of Decision for the project from the FTA. This would represent federal environmental clearance for the subway extension project and is required for Metro to move forward with various pre-construction activities, including awarding a construction contract.

The subway extension will enable passengers to travel from downtown L.A. to Westwood in 25 minutes and will generate about 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations. There would be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full Metro Rail System as a result of this subway extension.

Under current plans, the project could begin construction in 2013 and, depending on the availability of funds, may be built in three phases: from Western to La Cienega by 2020, to Century City in 2026 and to Westwood in 2036. Metro is seeking to accelerate the project's timeline through Congressional legislation known as the America Fast Forward plan. Metro staff has also studied how projects may be accelerated if Measure R is extended by voters beyond its current 2039 expiration date.

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