Friday, April 27, 2012

LACMTA Board advances Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector Projects

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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors certified the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report for the $1.37 billion Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project, a priority transit project that will connect light-rail lines through downtown L.A. and greatly improve connectivity for the entire L.A. County transportation network.

In certifying the EIS/EIR, the board also adopted LACMTA's Locally Preferred Alternative, a 1.9-mile fully underground light-rail line that includes three new stations at 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway and 2nd/Hope.

The Regional Connector will connect the LACMTA Gold Line (Eastside and Pasadena) to the Blue Line and future Expo Line, enabling passengers to travel from Montclair to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica as a "one seat ride." By providing continuous through service among these lines, the Regional Connector will improve access to both local and regional destinations and greatly improve the connectivity of the regional transportation network. The project will minimize the need for transfers, reducing one-way light-rail trip times across the county by 10 to 20 minutes or more. The project's three new downtown stations would provide access to 88,200 passengers, including approximately 17,700 new transit riders.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation projects the Regional Connector to create 13,770 jobs, $864 million in labor income and $2.36 billion in business revenues.

The board also voted to certify the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/EIR) for the Westside Subway Extension Project. This action readies the initial construction phase of the $5.66 billion Measure R project for final design.

Simultaneously, the Board approved the 3.9-mile first phase of the project with three new stations along Wilshire Boulevard at La Brea, Fairfax and La Cienega. The board deferred approving the remaining project to Westwood until after a hearing requested by the city of Beverly Hills has been conducted and the board issues its written decision and findings. The remainder of the project would add four more stations in downtown Beverly Hills, Century City, Westwood/UCLA and the Westwood/VA Hospital.

The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation forecasts the project will create 44,800 jobs and generate $2.81 billion in labor income. It would also generate $7.67 billion in business revenues. Additional jobs and economic benefits would be generated nationally.

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 LACMTA Rail System as a result of the this line's opening.

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