USDOT commits nearly $1.3 Billion for Section 3 of Purple Line Extension

A federal grant totaling nearly $1.3 billion to help build the third and final phase of the Metro Purple Line Extension to the Westwood/VA Hospital in Westwood was sent today by the U.S. Department of Transportation to Capitol Hill, the last step before the agreement is signed between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The $1.3 billion federal grant will be delivered through a multi-year agreement known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement that is governed by the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, popularly referred to as New Starts. The $1.3 billion is a stand-alone grant agreement, with no required loans for Metro to pay back as in previous funding agreements for Sections 1 and 2 of the extension. The overall cost for this section of the project is $3.6 billion, with remaining funds coming from Metro’s voter-approved transportation sales tax measures.   

Once this Full Funding Grant Agreement is finalized – following a 30-day review period on Capitol Hill mandated by the surface transportation authorization legislation known as the FAST Act – it will deliver $1.3 billion for one of L.A. County’s most critically needed public transit projects – a subway primarily under Wilshire Boulevard that will finally connect downtown Los Angeles and Westwood with service en route to the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Century City.

“I am thankful to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for sending, earlier today, a $1.3-billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Westside Purple Line Extension (Segment 3) to Capitol Hill,” said Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James Butts. “It is my understanding that Congress will now have 30 days to review this billion-dollar federal funding agreement and after that we can sign it and redouble our efforts to establish a fast and effective rail line – connecting the Westside with the rest of Los Angeles County.

“I want to offer a special thank you to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for championing this project as a powerful member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations,” added Board Chair Butts. “I also want to express my appreciation to U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congressman Ted Lieu and all members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation for uniting behind this project and ensuring this federal grant would move forward with dispatch through the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

Metro is now actively building the first two sections of the subway and has begun some initial preparatory construction activities for Section 3 between Century City and Westwood. Major construction is expected to start later this year. The three sections of the seven-mile Purple Line Extension are expected to open, respectively, in 2023, 2025 and 2027. 

“This is exciting and greatly welcome news to everyone in my district who waited patiently for the okay for the Purple Line Extension to the Westside,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Sheila Kuehl.  “Kudos and thanks to our federal partners for helping us deliver this critically important transit project to the taxpayers of L.A. County.”

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Senator Dianne Feinstein for her strong, sure and steady support for this $1.3 billion federal funding agreement to construct the last segment of the Westside Purple Line Extension – from Century City to the future VA/Westwood station,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This new transit line, when fully constructed, will revolutionize connections between the Westside and the rest of Los Angeles County’s growing rail and bus networks. In addition to Senator Feinstein championing this transit project, I want to express my sincere thanks to members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation, Secretary Elaine Chao and Acting FTA Administrator K. Jane Williams. The partnership between Metro, our federal elected officials in Los Angeles County and the U.S. Department of Transportation has been seamless on this project, and today’s news of a $1.3-billion federal grant for the Westside Purple Line Extension Segment 3 is emblematic of this fact.”

The Purple Line Extension to the Westwood/VA Hospital station will garner 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.

“We support the FFGA for the Purple Line Extension,” said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 150,000 skilled construction workers in 47 local unions. “Many of our members are on the job right now building the Purple Line and other Metro projects under a Project Labor Agreement that is bringing diverse communities into our workforce. We are proud to partner with L.A. County Metro to promote good careers. We urge our Congressional delegation to continue its leadership to promote LA as the center of innovation for mass transit in our country.”

Over 300,000 workers travel into the Westside every morning from throughout the region — and the Westside is the second largest job center in our 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.

13 replies

  1. They need to hurry up and build the connecting line to LAX, but it might not come for another 30 years.

    • Hi Tim;

      Which line are you referring to? The Sepulveda transit line to the airport is a long-term project although we’re trying to accelerate it. The Crenshaw/LAX Line, however, is under construction and an additional station that will offer an easy transfer to the airport people mover will soon be under construction. There are both near and long-term projects to serve the LAX area.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

      • By “connecting line to LAX” Tim W may be referring to the Crenshaw Line extension to Wilshire where it meets the Purple Line.

        • Hey Bob —

          Ah! As you probably know, that’s a project a ways away according to the Measure M plan but there are certainly folks looking at ways to accelerate it. Totally agree making that connection to the Purple Line would be great for the system and helping folks get to/from the airport.

          Steve Hymon
          Editor, The Source

          • Connects between line make it a real system. When there transfer points the whole system benefits. That why I think that the Crenshaw line needs to take over the stub of the Green line and have it extend through Wilmington on to the A Line. Also the Gold East side needs to bend south and connect with the Green and Norwalk Metrolink, and down to the WSAB. Doing this makes for a strong network.

      • I was referring to the Sepulveda line that connects to the Purple Line, then to the Expo Line, then to LAX. The Crenshaw/Green line will eventually go to North Hollywood so it’s another indirect way, but it’s so far out compared to east end of the Purple Line.

  2. The VA bus stop on Wilshire may not be busy under present conditions, but when it is the end point of the Purple Line it will be a heavy transfer point with buses going the rest of the way into Santa Monica.

    • Not really. You need real estate to go with the system. Besides the Veterans Hospital, what exactly will be at this station besides parking and buses? Any jobs besides the hospital? Leisure activities, schools, etc? Westwood is probably where people will continue to go as everything is pretty much already there.

  3. How soon could we see any sort of work on the route (exclusive of surveying and planning, things like shovels, backhoes, and broken up concrete)?

    • Hi Just a person;

      I know they’ve been doing some utility work. Not sure when the heavier construction begins but typically takes some time for things to ramp up and, as the post says, the grant still must clear Congress. But we’re very pleased the grant was sent by USDOT to Congress, which is a significant step. Here is a tentative construction schedule — which is subject to change — from a presentation given last year:

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  4. I rarely see anyone getting on or off the bus at the VA. If there’s no demand for for the bus, why would we put in a subway station? Did we have to make a stop to ensure federal funding? The biggest bottleneck(s) in the city is trying to escape the westside and cross the 405. Stopping short of Brentwood/Sawtelle seems absurd.

    • Because for some reason it could not be extended into Bundy and Westwood Station is pretty much going to be the busiest station in the Westwood, well exceeding station capacity based on ridership projections

      Hence, have patrons coming from Santa Monica get off at VA and ride the subway from there. The problem though, is outside of the veterans and families, this station will still probably benefit no one.

      Part of the reason why I will still catch the Purple Line at Wilshire/Westwood is because Wilshire/Westwood is a destination for me personally. Hammer Museum, office buildings, Cafes, shops, reasonable walking distance to UCLA and the Hospital, etc.

      This should have been extended to Bundy by any means, but of course Metro will make the most unoriginal excuse in the book (no money), as the reason Why VA had to be the terminal.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying VA shouldn’t have a station, I’m saying that should not be the long term terminal until the Santa Monica extension finally unfolds.

  5. Great, this should help finish off the Purple Line. Now time to advance the very long list of other projects.
    So for example, the next biggest and most expensive project has to be the Valley to LAX project. Will METRO attempt federal funding on this or will the P3 come through? Or can you do a combination of both?