The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) board has approved contracts to move forward with environmental work and community outreach for its West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor (WSABTC) project.
The board approved contracts with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, Inc. (WSP) to carry out the environmental study for the project that would connect L.A.’s Union Station and Artesia through a new rail line. A contract to conduct community outreach through Arrellano Associates, LLC, has also been approved.
A funding agreement with the Gateway Cities Council of Governments also got the board’s go-ahead to enable the 13 cities along the 20-mile project corridor to be involved in the study. Representatives say Eco-Rapid Transit Joint Powers Authority (JPA), formerly known as the Orangeline Development Authority, will lead the initiative.
“This is a historic milestone for our cities and community,” said Maria Davila, chair of JPA and vice mayor of South Gate. “Eco-Rapid Transit looks forward to continuing our work with [LACMTA] as we move into the environmental phase of project planning for the [WSABTC] project.”
The project is one of 12 transit projects in Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved in 2008 by local county voters. Approximately $240 million in Measure R funds were allocated for the project, and representatives say those funds will support the upcoming environmental work.
The project carries an expected cost of roughly $4 billion. LACMTA’s Measure M ballot measure for the 2016 general election includes additional funding to build a rail line, representatives say.
Various rail alignments between L.A.’s Union Station and a southern terminal in Artesia will undergo evaluations during the environmental clearance stage, and officials say the LACMTA board will approve the preferred route.
Ideally, officials say the project would use eight miles of a currently unused rail corridor owned by LACMTA between Artesia and Paramount called the West Santa Ana Branch.
The “Operation Shovel Ready” program to bring LACMTA projects to a “shovel ready” state includes the WSABTC Project. LACMTA says the project could be a candidate for a public-private partnership. LACMTA has also chosen Ernst & Young Infrastructure Advisors, LLC, a consultant in the U.S. public-private partnership infrastructure market, to help the transportation authority determine ways to best advance this and future major projects in the county.