This morning, Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member Antonio Villaraigosa, Santa Monica Mayor and Metro Board Member Pam O’Connor, City Coucil Member Jose Huizar and Metro CEO Art Leahy joined other Metro officials and downtown business leaders to announce the start of utility relocation work to prepare for construction of the Regional Connector.
The full press release from Metro:
In the latest milestone toward the delivery of Measure R transit projects to county residents, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) today officially began advance utility relocation work for the Regional Connector, a major light rail project in Downtown Los Angeles.
Utility crews have begun relocating existing underground telecommunication lines on Spring Street near the planned 2nd/Broadway rail station. Work will begin Friday, December 14, and will continue through April 2013. Work will take place on 2nd Street, between Hill and Main Street. Additional work will take place on Broadway between 1st and 3rd Streets; Spring Street between 1st and 3rd Streets; and Hill Street between 2nd and 3rd Streets.
The $1.367 billion Regional Connector project, partially funded with $160 million in Measure R sales tax money approved by voters in 2008, is considered one of the region’s most significant transit projects. The nearly two-mile project will enhance Metro Rail service by providing one continuous trip between Azusa and Long Beach, and between the Eastside and Santa Monica. This project essentially creates two major regional light rail transit lines for Los Angeles County: A north/south line from Azusa to Long Beach, and an east/west line from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica. In so doing, it minimizes the need for transfers, reducing one-way light rail trip times across the County by 10 to 20 minutes or more. Eleven intersections also will be improved, including at 1st/Alameda Streets, which will see improved performance and less congestion.
“Today’s advance utility work in Downtown Los Angeles marks the beginning of an improved, integrated transit system for the entire county,” said Michael D. Antonovich, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair. “The light rail connections made by this project will link the Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Lines, catalyze the entire Metro Rail system, and better prepare Metro to meet the demands of its expanding transit system.”
Transit passengers will have access to three new stations in Downtown Los Angeles: 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway, and 2nd/Hope. The new stations are estimated to provide access to 88,200 daily users, including approximately 17,700 new transit riders.
“The Regional Connector will connect transit riders from East LA to Santa Monica and from the San Gabriel Valley to Long Beach – without a single transfer,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “This vital project puts us one step closer to building the connected regional transportation system that Angelenos want and deserve.”
The Federal Transit Administration recently permitted the Regional Connector project to advance into its Final Design phase. Metro intends to seek a Full Funding Grant Agreement through FTA’s New Starts Program next year, which would constitute a federal matching contribution to the project. Metro estimates construction of the tunnel and new stations could begin in late 2013. The project, if fully funded, could open in 2019.
The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation forecasts that the Regional Connector project will create 15,400 jobs (direct, indirect and induced), $890 million in labor income, and $2.38 billion in business revenue generated by the project in the Southern California region.
For more information about the Regional Connector project, visit metro.net/regionalconnector.
About Measure R
Measure R, approved by two-thirds of L.A. County voters in 2008, commits a projected $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years. This sales tax measure will help fund dozens of critical transit and highway projects, create more than 210,000 new construction jobs and infuse an estimated $32 billion back into the local economy, according to estimates by the nonprofit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.