The Federal Transit Administration granted the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority a Record of Decision for the $1.37 billion Regional Connector Transit Corridor, officially certifying that the project has now satisfied all federal environmental guidelines.
The action is an important prerequisite for LACMTA to begin final design of the nearly two-mile underground light-rail line in Downtown L.A. and for the agency to seek federal funding to help build it.
Regional Connector, partially funded with $160 million in Measure R sales tax money approved by voters in 2008, will connect the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line through downtown L.A., enabling passengers to take a “one seat ride” from Montclair to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.
“The Regional Connector is the vital link connecting the county’s regional transportation network by uniting the Gold Line, the Blue Line and the Expo Line, allowing for future one-seat trips between the San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach and the Westside,” said Michael Antonovich, L.A. County supervisor and LACMTA board chair.
The line will include three new light-rail stations in Downtown Los Angeles at 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway and 2nd/Hope. The new stations are estimated to provide access to 88,200 passengers, including approximately 17,700 new transit riders.
With the ROD now in hand, LACMTA can request initiation of final design and commence discussions with the FTA to secure a Full Funding Grant Agreement, which will constitute a federal matching contribution to the project. Metro estimates construction of the tunnel and new stations could begin in August 2013. Initial utility relocation work could begin in July of this year. The project, if fully funded, could open in 2019.