CalSTA awards Metro $600 million for East San Fernando Valley light rail project

The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) has announced that Metro will receive a full request of $600 million in state grant funding for a key expansion of the Metro system, the East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Corridor Project (ESFV), the first rail project to be built in the Valley since the original Metro Red Line subway was extended to North Hollywood in 2000.

Metro requested this important funding as part of an overall package to advance three significant regional transit projects with a comprehensive application that reflected stakeholder input, regional consensus, and careful consideration of the guidelines and legislative intent of the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program (TIRCP) Cycle 6 opportunity.

The 6.7-mile light rail line will connect the communities of Van Nuys, Panorama City, Arleta, and Pacoima along Van Nuys Boulevard, one of the Valley’s busiest corridors. Another 2.5-mile segment is also planned to extend the rail line from Pacoima to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station. Design options for that project segment are now under study and will be built in a second construction phase.

The ESFV Project, which was already environmentally cleared and broke ground for advanced utility relocation in December 2022, is planned to connect with both the Van Nuys Metrolink/Amtrak Station as well as the Metrolink station at Sylmar/San Fernando to provide Metro transit customers with greater interregional connectivity.  This $600 million state contribution has provided Metro with the much-needed financial support for a required funding plan per the Federal Transit Administration’s guidelines for the approval of an anticipated Expedited Project Delivery Grant of $908.75 million.

The project provides significant and targeted benefits for communities designated as federal areas of persistent poverty and Equity Focused Communities along the project corridor and links these communities to the Metro G (Orange) Line and the Metrolink/LOSSAN system.

This award was part of CalSTA’s $2,537,695,000 funding announcement for 16 existing projects throughout California. Projects must maintain and/or leverage significant sources of additional local or federal funds to return project or project elements to full funding status. Funding remains available for additional TIRCP Cycle 6 awards to New Projects and Major Project Development Reserve Projects, as well as High Priority Grade Crossing Improvement and Separation Projects.

In December, Metro’s Board of Directors unanimously approved a prioritized list of projects for this funding request to include not only this project, but also the Metro L (Gold) Line Foothill Extension Light Rail Transit Project to Montclair and the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor Project.

Metro’s full submission requested $1.898 billion for all three projects, which would leverage significant federal and local funds in addition to hundreds of millions of Measure M funding already committed to these projects. Metro will continue to seek full funding for the remaining projects that will ensure the creation of tens of thousands of jobs along with greater mobility and air quality benefits, including for disadvantaged, equity-focused communities.

The other priority project, Metro L (Gold) Line Foothill Extension Light Rail Transit Project to Montclair, is shovel-ready and can begin construction within a year, bringing immediate benefits to L.A. County and San Bernardino County. The West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor Project will leverage local and state funding with a Federal Transit Administration Capital Investment Grant to bring rail transit to a corridor that is home to some of our most disadvantaged communities in the State.

Aerial rendering of the rail line on Van Nuys Boulevard at Victory Boulevard.

The approved ESFV Project is just one of the transit improvements Metro has planned to improve mobility in the San Fernando Valley over the next 10 years. Other projects include the North San Fernando Transit Corridor Project, the G Line Improvements Project, and the Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project. Projects are partially funded through Metro’s local Measure M voter-approved sales tax measure, which supports transportation improvements throughout Los Angeles County.

For additional information about the ESFV Project, please visit


“As Metro continues to take its system to the next phase of expansion, this funding will be critical in allowing us to fully utilize available federal dollars, which will facilitate for us to continue to advocate to secure additional state funding for other key projects,” said Metro Board Chair and Glendale City Council Member Ara J. Najarian. “On behalf of the Metro Board and the entire Metro organization, we want to especially thank Governor Newsom and Transportation Secretary Omishakin for awarding this vital funding to this transformational project.”

“I am grateful for Governor Newsom’s continued support for transportation projects that will ease congestion, make our air cleaner and expand people’s access to opportunity,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Member Karen Bass. “This expansion helps us advance our commitment to provide a reliable, safe, quick and efficient public transportation system that connects every neighborhood in Los Angeles.”

“Since my first days in the State Assembly, more than 15 years ago, I have fought for expanded mass transit options for the San Fernando Valley,” said Los Angeles City Council President and Metro Board Member Paul Krekorian. “The prospect of a light rail line for the East Valley was one of the best arguments for the passage of Measure R in 2008 and Measure M in 2016.  As the Valley’s advocate on the Metro Board for the last ten years, I fought to make East Valley Light Rail our top funding priority.  Thank you, Governor Newsom, for your foresight in bringing us one step closer to a future of cleaner, safer, more efficient transportation in the San Fernando Valley,” said Krekorian.

“By investing in the future of transportation in the San Fernando Valley, we are committing to a clean air future in which we connect communities, create quality jobs and get more cars off the road,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Lindsey P. Horvath. “The East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Transit Corridor Project is a critical investment that will move our entire region forward, and I am so excited to be part of it.”

“This is a significant investment by the State for the San Fernando Valley,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “Our proposed prioritized projects will help uplift our communities by bringing rail and economic opportunity to one of our region’s busiest transit corridors not currently served by rail transit. Metro is committed to ultimately moving forward all three shovel-worthy projects as part of our vision for the future of Los Angeles’ transportation infrastructure.”

6 replies

  1. Pleeeease more heavy-rail rapid transit, ik we like to badmouth the red-line, but that thing’s faster than cars for the majority of the day, light rail just isn’t

  2. I really think the idea of the Gold Line going to Montclair was considered was the need for parking on the Gold Line once the line got out to Azusa prior to Covid. Trains were full and the parking lots too. SB county doesn’t seem too interested in the project and while I feel sorry for Claremont, the Gold Line can rightfully end at the Pomona North Metrolink station for a long time for transfers to the east. I think it will be a much better source of transfer than the Orange Line has been at Chatsworth or the broken connection between the Green Line to the Norwalk SF Springs station. If the demand shows up later (and the money) will talk then. Much bigger projects in LA County need the $.

    As for going to Ontario Airport, that is a politicians pipe dream. The passenger usage at ONT while up, is still not near the total capacity of the airport and there is tons of easy parking. Plus the Gold Line route would be long and relatively slow. All those combine for low transit usage. A faster bus line is coming, but even now, the one OMNI bus route serving the airport, I never see anyone on the bus, let alone get off at the airport stop. Much like LA County, SB needs to put the money elsewhere right now.

    Orange County is just plain dumb. Long WSA Branch line right of way is chopped up for the sake of a short shuttle street car.
    My only hope is the streetcar is some day extended north to Disneyland and then some kind of connector over to the Anaheim Transit Center. Maybe if OC feels cooperative, the LA portion of the WSAB could be extended south to Harbor Blvd where you could transfer to Disney or Downtown Anaheim. Big lost opportunity.

  3. I wonder what the Van Nuys Metrolink station will look like. Namely how much walking will be involved in getting from one to another.

  4. That gold line to Montclair mention is probably the best example as to why all rail lines should either be privatized or nationalized.

    Either that or at the very least update our state laws. OC already decided to go their own way on the Santa Ana corridor, essentially destroying a potential for a REAL world class transit system for the foreseeable future. Best believe SB county would do the same thing if the Gold Line were to ever go east of Montclair.

    • Without exorbitant fares, its highly unlikely a private company could run a successful passenger rail line. That’s why they all got out of the business in the 60s and 70s.

      The ESFV line will be a glorified street car with slow speeds running at grade the majority of its route.

      Not sure why they’re even bothering to extend Gold Line into SB county. If it’s going past Pomona, the logical terminus is Ontario Airport. Otherwise, save the money and terminate in LA County at either Pomona or Claremont.

      Beyond existing Metrolink service, neither SB or Orange County care enough to invest significantly in public transit.

      • But one advantage that private companies will have over Metro is. . . *drumroll*. . . real estate ownership. Honestly, reading how Japanese railways are profitable not because of a rail line but rather, the real estate around their stations, is the reason why so many of those 120+ year old railways are still around today.

        What did Henry Huntington do on the other hand? Sold the real estate he was building out instead of renting/leasing it out.

        Now imagine if those old racist ways didn’t get in the way of the color that actually makes the world go round: Green!

        Maybe, just maybe, at least a handful of private railways would still be around.

        A wise Uber driver once told me: “You want power? Own your land. When was the last time you heard a land owner homeless?” – and while I actually think it is possible to be homeless in that scenario to an extent, I got his main point. Pacific Electric lost their power because they no longer owned the land around their tracks. Instead of putting their foot on the brakes when cities started building streets and blocks on their tracks, or just simply buy land for ROWs, they just gave in.

        The second the streetcars had to share their tracks with cars, and had to beg the public for money to build dedicated ROW later on, it was game over.

        Also, if Metro really does own the land around or on their stations then why on earth aren’t they doing more themselves to actually gain enough dollars to break even? This is a question that the agency has REFUSED to answer.

        I miss being able to leave the house, go to the local transfer station a 15 min walk away and go shopping and dining instead of waiting 2 days for Amazon or having to settle with Uber eats because I can’t simply take a train or a quick bus ride to where I ACTUALLY want to go. So looking forward to going back in due time, hopefully for good.