Metro staff seeks approval to secure federal funding for Phase 2 of Purple Line Extension subway

Pre-construction is already underway on the first phase of the Purple Line Extension, which will stretch the subway from its current terminus at Western Avenue to La Cienega Boulevard with new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. Earlier this year, Metro received $2.1 billion in federal grants and loans for the first phase and the agency this summer picked a contractor to build the project.

In the meantime, Metro is beginning to turn its gaze toward the project’s second phase, which will extend the tracks to a downtown Beverly Hills station and a station at Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard Century City. In the above report, Metro staff are asking the Metro Board for approval to seek federal funding for phase two in the form of a $1.1-billion grant from the federal New Starts program and a $307 million low-interest loan from the federal TIFIA program.

The target date for completion, with the federal funding, would be 2025. That’s one year earlier than the original target date for the second phase (the first phase to La Cienega Boulevard is forecast to open in 2023). Pursuing more federal funding as quickly as possible has other advantages — offsetting a higher cost estimate for the project, as the report explains.

The Purple Line Extension is also funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in 2008. The full Metro Board of Directors will consider the staff proposal for Phase 2 funding at its Oct. 2 meeting.

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10 replies

  1. I can not wait. To travel between k-town and Westwood in about twenty minutes would drastically improve the quality of mang lives; even ones that chose not ride the system

  2. Yes, this is a needed line in our system (as well as other rail lines in the Southland). The part of humanity living here needs to learn that automobiliated transportation has failed the human race time and time again, and the network originally invented by Adolf Hitler (the freeway system) will eventually destroy what little humanity that’s contained in the human race.
    Unfortunately, too many people are addicted to the automobile at the present time; in order to break that addiction, a MASSIVE increase in rail construction must commence ASAP! Public transportation cannot be handled by buses alone, since it has been forgotten that buses, just like cars, are AUTOMOBILES! (So are trucks).
    A few words about costs; it has been mentioned several times by several people that rail is an expensive option; however, these people point only to the initial construction costs, and not the costs over time (life cycle). Sure, buses APPEAR to be cheaper, but when you consider that a rail vehicle, as well as the tracks they roll on, outlasts a bus by a factor of 5 to 1, rail actually SAVES money, and lots of it!
    Also, rail utilizes energy much better than buses because trains, especially in urban public transportation, are electrically powered as opposed to an extremely inefficient engine which wastes copious amounts of fuel in the form of waste heat, which is NEVER recovered.
    Electricity, as opposed to directly-used fuel (which must be carried on board an engine-powered vehicle), is far lower in costs per unit of energy than ANY engine fuel, and is also much safer than any onboard fuel.
    Finally, vehicle operator productivity is higher with rail than bus, due to rights-of-way which are NOT USED BY ANY OTHER VEHICLES IN MIXED TRAFFIC!

  3. Furthermore, pertaining to the Purple Line extension, funding MUST be secured for extending the line to Lincoln Blvd. in Santa Monica, heading south on Lincoln, and going elevated straight to the airport, and terminating in a (huge) four-track, two-platform station close to the Green/Crenshaw Lines station at (or at least near) Century Blvd. Airport pedestrian traffic at LAX will only increase, and light rail uses railcars which are rather narrow(rather tight, considering that there’s going to be lots of luggage), low speed (although the Seimens p2000 railcars can reach 65mph, the subway cars routinely move at 70mph), and have really small seats (the subway cars have large, high-backed seats).
    This Purple Line extension will be a real money-maker; guaranteeing easy access to and from LAX.

  4. Hopefully by the time funding is sought for the final phase, the VA station can be fixed by moving it closer to Federal so the walkshed includes the hospital and the office buildings instead of the hospital and the freeway. Bundy is a much more logical temporary terminus even if extending to the promenade is low priority.

    • Hey Matt;

      The station almost certainly will not be moved — that would require re-doing the EIR and that, in turn, would impact potential federal funding. What remains to be seen is whether any pushes for a fourth phase for the project that would extend it beyond Westwood and the VA Hospital. Such an extension is in Metro’s long-range plan in the unfunded category. It will stay in that category unless the Metro Board decides to secure funding.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  5. It would’ve been done a lot sooner if it weren’t for Henry Waxman and NIMBY interests.

    Here’s a fact: LA and Taipei both started constructing subways around the same time in the 1990s. The difference is that LA stopped halfway and Taipei kept building them. Now Taipei has an extensive network that is cheap, fast, efficient, and actually profitable (yes, a mass transit system that actually makes money without taxpayer support!) while everyone in LA is still stuck going “4-or-5 miles” per hour.

  6. Great news. Glad to hear that the frequent allusions to possible accelerations on the project are more than just teases.

  7. I can’t believe the Purple Line was never extended further when it was originally built. From Wilshire and Western to Union Station makes it the smallest of all the metro lines and doesn’t seem worthwhile. The extension will make it more viable just a shame it takes so long to complete.