Some keen eyes around town spotted this item on the Board of Directors’ Planning Committee agenda for tomorrow: In short, Metro staff is proposing to build the first phase of the Westside Subway Extension to Wilshire and La Cienega instead of Wilshire and Fairfax.
There are several reasons for the proposal, as explained in the staff report below. The gist of it is that La Cienega is a more favorable location from a geologic, paleontologic and logistics perspective to be the end of the first phase of the project. Going to La Cienega would obviously add to the cost of the first phase but not to the overall cost of the project.
It needs to be made clear that this is a receive-and-file report to the Board of Directors and is part of a larger discussion involving an update on the agency’s long-range plan — meaning the Board will not be taking any action on the item. A decision about the first phase of the subway and the timeline for completing it will be made as part of the Board’s approval process for the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement/Report, which is being finished and should be released soon.
As many of you know, the agency’s long-range plan has the subway going to Fairfax by 2019, Century City by 2026 and Westwood in 2036. Metro is in the process of trying to create new funding opportunities — the America Fast Forward program — in order to secure federal loans and other financing to accelerate the construction of the subway and all the other Measure R transit programs. That has obviously been tough going in Congress, but the agency remains committed to trying to finish the Measure R transit projects sooner rather than later.