LA’s New Transit System Provides Jobs, Stimulates Economy

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When the Bureau of Labor Statistics confirmed that the second quarter of 2014 marked the most productive five-month stretch of job creation since the Great Recession, it sent a strong signal of promise to those still looking for gainful employment. Employers nationwide reportedly added 288,000 workers to their payrolls in June, dropping unemployment figures to a low 6.1 percent.

According to analysts at Beacon Economics in Los Angeles, California has accounted for nearly 16 percent of all jobs added in the nation, with a strengthening real estate industry and a more robust construction enterprise contributing significantly.

What is helping the greater Los Angeles region turn the corner on the road to recovery is the further development of Metrolink, a commuter rail service. With 80 stations handling more than 357,000 riders daily, Metrolink is listed among the nation’s top 10 passenger rail systems. A total of 23 stations are either under construction or in consideration.

Although the expansion of one of LA’s two subway systems is not expected to be finished until 2023, the tedious work to tunnel the highly-anticipated Purple Line alone will pull a lot of qualified job seekers away from unemployment lines.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation estimates that in order to link downtown LA to the affluent enclaves of Beverly Hills and Century City, more than 25,000 qualified job hunters will be employed by Metro within the next 10 years. Plans to extend the Purple Line to Westwood, where UCLA is located, are now underway.

By 2015, the Expo Line is projected to connect downtown LA to the high-brow, beachfront community of Santa Monica for the first time in a half-century. With a 2019 year of completion earmarked, the Green Line will allow the Crenshaw District to shake hands with the Los Angeles International Airport, as proposals for further growth are being studied.

Local economic forecasters expect L.A.’s major transit projects to support more than 100,000 jobs in many areas of interest. By 2039, San Fernando Valley will, hopefully, be tied to LA’s progressive west side by rail, putting the next generation of employment prospects to work. 

Sharon Raiford Bush is an award-winning journalist who covers topics of social interest in greater Los Angeles. Some news articles she has authored have been archived by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. Sharon also contributes to Examiner.com.

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