A federal grant and loan totaling nearly $1.6 billion to help build the second phase of the Metro Purple Line Extension to downtown Beverly Hills and Century City was announced today by the U.S. Department of Transportation and Metro.
•The money is for the 2.6-mile second phase of the Purple Line Extension that will run between Wilshire/La Cienega Station and Century City. Two stations are included in the second section: Wilshire/Rodeo in downtown Beverly Hills and Century City at the corner of Avenue of the Stars and Constellation Boulevard.
•The first section of the Purple Line Extension is under construction and will run for 3.9 miles between Wilshire/Western Station and Wilshire/La Cienga with stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax and Wilshire/La Cienega. It’s expected to take about 11 minutes for the subway to travel from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western to Century City Station.
•The $1.187-billion federal grant for section two is from the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, which helps local transit agencies build big capital projects.
•The $307-million loan is from the U.S. DOT’s TIFIA program that provides low-interest loans to help build infrastructure projects.
•The subway project is also receiving $169 million through the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program.
•Funding for the second phase includes $747 million from the Measure R half-cent sales tax approved by L.A. County voters in 2008. Section two is expected to cost about $2.4 billion to build. Bottom line: without the Measure R funds, Metro would almost certainly not have received the federal funding.
•Metro is now in the process of selecting a contractor to build the subway extension’s second phase. The agency plans to recommend a contractor to the Metro Board later this month.
•Pre-construction activities — including utility work relocation — for the second phase are already underway. Major construction is planned to begin in 2018.
•Completion of the second subway section is anticipated no later than 2026 per the agreement Metro has in place with the FTA. But Metro is aiming to finish the project by 2024 before a potential Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, said Metro CEO Phil Washington at the event Wednesday.
•A third and final section will extend the subway to the Westwood/VA Hospital. Construction on this section — with funding from the recently approved Measure M sales tax — is planned to begin as early as 2019.
•Construction of the Purple Line Extension will support over 25,000 jobs in the Southern California area during its construction, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation.
•The Purple Line Extension to the Westwood/VA Hospital station is forecast to generate about 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations. There will be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full Metro Rail System as a result of opening this line.
•A total of $3.1 billion in federal New Starts funding has now been secured for recent Metro transportation projects, including $1.25 billion for the first section of the subway and $670 million for the Regional Connector. These grants would not have been possible without Metro also having local funding from the Measure R sales tax.
•Trains are expected to run every four minutes during peak hours on the Purple Line Extension and every 10 minutes during off-peak times. The Metro Board last month approved a contract for new subway vehicles to help support the line and the agency is also working on a project that will allow subway trains to turn around more quickly at Union Station, thereby increasing capacity on the line.
•Over 300,000 people travel into the Westside every day for work from throughout the region. More than 100,000 trips also leave the area for outside destinations. The Purple Line extension will offer improved connectivity to the entire Metro Bus and Rail network, as well as transfers to municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.
Reaction on social media:
People keep saying the Purple Line is happening because of political cooperation, but… really it's happening because of local voter support.
— Laura J. Nelson (@laura_nelson) January 4, 2017
— Meghan McCarty (@meghamama) January 4, 2017
Flickr album with photos from today’s event (feel free to download and use)