Feds commit grant to LA Metro this week
By Sam Catanzaro
Nearly half a million workers commute every day too and from the Westside. An over $1 billion federal grant that was committed to LA Metro this week, however, brings the agency closer to alleviating some of the resulting traffic with a subway to Century City and Westwood.
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 February 11 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 (LA 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. 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. According to LA Metro, 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 the grant will deliver $1.3 billion for a subway primarily under Wilshire Boulevard that will connect downtown Los Angeles and Westwood with service en route to the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Century City.
“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.”
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 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,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.
According to LA Metro, 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.