FTA green lights LACMTA’s Westside Subway Extension Project

Written by Jenifer Nunez, assistant editor
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The Federal Transit Administration granted the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority a Record of Decision (ROD) for the $5.6 billion Westside Subway Extension,

officially certifying that the project has satisfied all federal guidelines for environmental analysis.

The action is a prerequisite for LACMTA to seek federal funding for the final design and construction of the nearly nine-mile extension of the Purple Line subway from Wilshire/Western to the Westwood/VA Hospital. The Westside Subway Extension will extend high-capacity, fast, frequent and reliable subway service to one of the most dense and jobs-rich areas of Los Angeles County.

The line will include seven new subway stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega, Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City, Westwood/UCLA and Westwood/VA Hospital. About 49,300 people are forecasted to board the line at these seven stations. There would be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full system as a result of the opening of this line. Passengers will be able to travel between downtown Los Angeles and the Westwood/UCLA Station in about 25 minutes.

About three-quarters of the project cost will be locally funded from the voter-approved Measure R sales tax. With the ROD, LACMTA can request initiation of final design and commence discussions with the FTA to secure a Full Funding Grant Agreement providing the federal matching contribution for the project.

Preparation for pre-construction activities is already underway for the first phase, which will bring the line to Wilshire/La Cienega. Initial utility relocation work in this segment may begin later this summer or in the fall. Construction of Phase 1 to La Cienega could begin in 2014.

The full nine-mile project could open as early as 2022 if efforts to accelerate project funding are successful.