It might take 20 years, but LA Metro board approves ‘first-of-its-kind’ light-rail project

Written by RT&S Staff
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Maryland officials have rejected a proposal to build a new rail tunnel underneath the city of Baltimore.

Lower income families in southeast Los Angeles County will one day be able to enjoy a light-rail line that will run from Artesia to downtown Los Angeles.

The LA Metro board approved the 19.3-mile line, which is expected to cost $8.5 billion. Officials are calling it a first-of-its-kind endeavor because of the impact it will have on lower income families.

The project will use tracks that were once used by Pacific Electric, which is called the West Santa Ana Branch line. The road will run through Artesia, Cerritos, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Huntington Park, Vernon, and Florence-Graham before stopping at L.A.’s Union Station.

Project alignment will be in two phases. The first will be a 14.8-mile section and will connect the Artesia/Cerritos area to the Slauson Avenue A Line Station in Florence-Firestone. A 4.5-mile second phase will include the Arts District, Little Tokyo, and Union Station. Little Tokyo is asking that the line in its section be underground, and an option is currently being studied.

LA Metro was not happy with phase one, which calls for riders to transfer to the A Line and go north into Los Angeles. The board, however, moved forward with plans that also included the second phase.

Phase one will not begin until 2023 and it will take about a decade to complete. The second phase will take another 10 years before it is up and running. Many proponents of the route did not like the long project timeline.

The LA Metro board did agree to move up the completion dates, but that will require securing more funding earlier.

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