FTA gives Metro go ahead to start work on stations, track and systems on Section 3 of Purple Line Extension

Some very good news out of Washington D.C. on Thursday! The Federal Transit Administration has approved Metro’s request for a Letter of No Prejudice for the Purple Line Extension’s Section 3 between Century City and Westwood. In English, that means that Metro can proceed with a contract it awarded earlier this year to construct stations, trackwork, systems, testing and related activities for Section 3.

Some background: Metro and the FTA are finalizing a $1.3-billion federal grant (officially known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement or FFGA) for Section 3 of the Purple Line Extension. That money will be combined with local funds from Measures R and M to build Section 3, which has an estimated cost of $3.6 billion. Metro also received FFGAs for Sections 1 and 2 of the Purple Line Extension — $1.25 and $1.1 billion, respectively.

Section 3 will run for 2.56 miles from the Century City Station to two stations in Westwood — one at Wilshire and Westwood boulevards and the other in front of the Westwood VA Medical Center, just west of the 405 freeway.

In Sept. 2018, the FTA also gave Metro the go-ahead to begin tunneling work on section 3. In addition, in Nov. 2018 the FTA allocated Metro the first $100 million of the FFGA. Again, in plain English, the FFGA is not a completely done deal yet but the FTA’s actions this week indicates the deal is progressing well.

Heavy construction of Sections 1 and 2 of the Purple Line Extension is currently underway. Check out this recent video to learn more about how the subway is being built:

14 replies

    • Hi TimW;

      A different project — the Sepulveda Transit Corridor — will build a rail line or monorail between the San Fernando Valley and LAX. That line will have transfers to the Purple Line Extension, most likely at the Wilshire/Westwood Station.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • Such a great idea. That part of the 405 Is a nightmare. Make it a subway whenever possible. Too much congestion on the surface.

  1. Why was the Purple Line not planned to go further under Wilshire Blvd further in to West LA or even Santa Monica?

    • Hi Rick —

      This is as far as the line can go with the funding that is available. It’s also as far as the Metro Board has approved the line to go.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

    • Purple Line to Wilshire and 4th in Santa Monica was absolutely one of the studied alternatives.

      It was estimated to cost 40% more and add 27% more riders. So, the existing plan was a more effective use of dollars.

      But, I bet Wilshire/4th will look better and better as time goes by – with Purple Line to VA complete, and then Sepulveda Pass ramping up, and Crenshaw north to Purple line as well. It will take some time, but Purple Line to 4th will totally happen in my opinion.

  2. My guess is the Purple line will be extended to the sea, but that will be the next generation of Angelenos that see it through. It wouldn’t surprise me if inertia starts builds for that extension before these are complete.

    Hundreds of thousands (millions?) of people share that dream of a stress free train ride to the beach.
    I would say these things move at a glacial pase but that terminology is no longer apt. (Or maybe it is?)

    Good job Metro, If you can do it faster that would be great. 🙂

  3. So does this keep the time line schedule of opening on track?
    What do the budgets look like on segment 1 & 2 so far?
    This is very real concern since the last 2 segments of the Foothill Gold line came in under budget, but now the last segment is being cut in half as costs of skyrocketed.
    Will the Purple Line suffer the same fate in any of its 3 segments ?

  4. I am hoping that they get MORE funding so they CAN run the Purple Line into Santa Monica. It NEEDS to go there! While it’s true that the Expo Line goes from Downtown LA to Santa Monica already, it’s more about a line running between Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. Or from Santa Monica to Westwood/UCLA. The Miracle Mile to Santa Monica. The Expo Line connects places like USC and Culver City to Santa Monica, but not the places the Purple Line passes under to it. Maybe another “Measure” is needed. What ever it takes to get the funding to continue the line to Santa Monica.

  5. Is the location of the Westwood/VA Hospital station finalized? If not, is there any consideration for moving it further west near the intersection of Federal/Wilshire? That would make the retail area of Brentwood and West LA/Wilshire more accessible by foot.

    If the station must be located in front of the hospital on Bonsall, are there any plans to open a direct path through the VA compound to allow pedestrians access to Brentwood? It would be a shame to have the subway so close but then force riders to walk a half-a-mile extra to get to Brentwood or Wilshire/West LA

    • Tin
      Unfortunately, Metro says they planned the station as far west as the funding allowed.

      The walk along Wilshire from San Vicente to the hospital is rather miserable. A pedestrian path would be ideal, or even a DASH like bus that could go through the VA grounds from the side entry on Bringham. The Big Blue Bus used to go through the northern section of the VA property, saving commuters time from traffic on the 405. Now, pass-through is limited to the southern portion of the property with bus-unfriendly speed bumps.