MTA Gets OK To Start Work On Westside Light Rail System

Project to create estimated 40k jobs

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The Metropolitan Transportation Authority got federal approval Wednesday to start doing engineering work for a Westside light-rail system and a $1.37 billion “regional connector.”

The Federal Transit Administration’s approval means federal funding could be available in the
city’s next fiscal year, which begins July, according to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s staff.

“These two projects represent tremendous job creation, mobility and environmental benefits for the Los Angeles region,” Villaraigosa said.

“Today, the federal government has given a strong signal that the Westside Subway and Regional Connector are likely to be supported with New Starts (federal) funding and that our aggressive timeline for 30/10 is not out of reach.”

Both projects were among a dozen originally expected to completed over 30 years using money from Measure R, a half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008.

Under Villaraigosa’s 30/10 plan, the federal government will accelerate funding for some projects. If the Westside light-rail project is included, the $4.2 billion line would reach Westwood in 2022, instead of 2036.

If accelerated funding for the 1.9-mile regional connector is included, the underground line, which would be built downtown, would be completed by 2019.

In considering a route for the Westside line in October, Metro’s board voted for a roughly 9-mile extension from the Wilshire-Western station to the Veterans Administration campus in West Los Angeles.

Metro officials, citing a study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corp., said the Westside project should provide about 40,300 jobs, while the regional connector might create about 11,400.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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