LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Metro announced Friday that a decision by the Federal Transit Administration will save the third Purple Line Extension between Century City and the Westwood/VA Hospital tens of millions of dollars and avoid a project delay.

The FTA earlier this week approved Metro’s request to be reimbursed for early work activities on the project. Metro said the decision clears the way for it to take advantage of highly competitive tunnel contract bids, which have come in lower than expected and are projected to save an estimated $130 million.

The tunneling bids were at risk to expire on Oct. 3, and the FTA’s approval avoids the need to re-bid the tunnel contract, saving an additional $200 million in projected escalation costs and a nearly two-year project delay, Metro officials said.

“Metro is now one step closer to extending the Purple Line subway all the way to West Los Angeles thanks to a positive working relationship with our federal funding partners,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Sheila Kuehl said. “I want to thank FTA Acting Administrator K. Jane Williams and her staff for their commitment to advancing this project and for helping to bring a comprehensive public transportation system to L.A. County.”

The Purple Line extension’s first two sections are under construction between Wilshire/Western and Century City. Those two extensions have already received federal funding, and Metro is now seeking a $1.3 billion grant for the third section through the FTA’s New Starts Program and said it anticipates a grant agreement will be reached by early 2019.

Metro said the entire line is on track to open by 2026, in time for the 2028 L.A. Olympic and Paralympic Games in Los Angeles.

“L.A. Metro is working hard to complete all three phases of the Purple Line Extension Project prior to the 2028 Olympics, seven years ahead of schedule,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. “I intend to make sure the federal government continues to be a good partner in this effort and helps keep the project moving forward as we prepare to welcome the world to Los Angeles.”

Metro announced in August that a portable, non-invasive scanner which can detect a threat from 30 feet away will soon protect bus and train riders.

The agency — which operates buses, subways and light rail lines throughout Los Angeles County – has been testing a variety of security systems since last year. The ThruVis devices were tested at the 7th Street/Metro Center Station in March.

The technology, which has been extensively tested by the TSA, was also tested in New York, but will be implemented first in Los Angeles.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)


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