An update is going to the Metro Board of Directors on the West Santa Ana light rail project. As part of the project’s environmental studies, staff is studying two Initial Operating Segments (IOS) in addition to the entire project between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles. The two segments are:
- IOS 1 – I-105/Green Line Station to Pioneer Station
- IOS 2 – Slauson Station to Pioneer Station
Here’s a link to the Metro staff report and attachments.
The overall project proposes to build a 19-mile light rail line (see the above map). In 2016, L.A. County voters approved Measure M, which supplies $4 billion for the project over two cycles — $1 billion for a segment to be completed by 2028 and $3 billion for a second segment to be done by 2041.
Metro staff believe the best way to deliver the entire project between Artesia and DTLA is to build it in segments. It’s a common approach for Metro, which has built many of its project in phases, including the Blue Line, Expo Line and Gold Line and the Purple Line Extension that is under construction. This strategy allows rail lines to be built as funding becomes available, while also delivering benefits to the public as soon as possible.
Staff is optimistic that IOS 2 — from Slauson to Pioneer Station in Artesia — is feasible to fund and deliver by 2028. The upside to this approach is that cities in the southeastern part of L.A. County would finally have access to the Metro Rail system and riders who wish to travel to/from downtown L.A. could transfer to/from the Blue Line at Slauson to complete those trips. Staff believes that IOS 2 has meaningful mobility value and attracts the same number of new riders compared to the two alternatives for the northern section of the line (known as Alternatives E and G) and that IOS 2 is the most cost-effective option.
Metro is also studying whether a public-private partnership could be used to accelerate delivery of the project — including the entire 19 mile line. These partnerships use the pooled resources of the public and private sectors to share risk and, possibly, build projects at an accelerated pace.
In the meantime, Metro continues to work on the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report, the legally required document that considers the project’s potential routes and mitigations for any impacts. The current project schedule calls for the Metro Board to pick a route for the project in 2021 and for a groundbreaking in 2022.