Friday, February 21

                              Westwood-Downtown LA subway megaproject receives over $1B in funding

                              A planned subway extension connecting Westwood to Downtown Los Angeles received a $1.3 billion federal grant on Tuesday. The funding will help Metro complete the project by 2027.(Daily Bruin file photo)

                              Over $1 billion in federal funding will finance the last section of a subway line extension to Westwood.

                              The United States Department of Transportation granted $1.3 billion on Tuesday for Section 3 of the Purple Line extension, a subway line that will connect Westwood to Downtown Los Angeles by 2027. The grant follows lobbying by California Senator Dianne Feinstein, who urged transportation secretary Elaine Chao to fund projects in Southern California, according to a press release.

                              “I’d like to thank Secretary Chao for this critical Purple Line funding that will help alleviate LA congestion,” Feinstein said in the press release. “Connecting Downtown LA with the Westside is crucial to modernizing the city’s transit system.”ext

                              Section 3 of the line, extending from Century City to Westwood, will bring significant construction to the Village starting mid-2020. As part of the extension, Metro plans to construct a station under Wilshire Boulevard, between Veteran Avenue and Westwood Boulevard, and a second station by the West Los Angeles Veteran Affairs Medical Center.

                              Once completed, the Purple Line will enable students to go from Westwood to Downtown LA in just 25 minutes, according to the press release. LA mayor Eric Garcetti attributed the grant to efforts by Feinstein and said the funding will help quicken construction.

                              “With the leadership of Senator Feinstein, our LA congressional delegation and the U.S. Department of Transportation, today’s funding agreement will help us finish the Purple Line extension more quickly and build the world-class transit system Angelenos deserve,” Garcetti said in the press release.

                              Metro will sign to receive the $1.3 billion grant after a 30-day federal review period, said LA Metro spokesperson Dave Sotero in an emailed statement. Metro secured similar funding agreements from the Federal Transit Administration for Sections 1 and 2 of the project so far, and actively sought out the new grant to finish Section 3, Sotero said.

                              Sotero said the additional federal funding will complement local funding, such as the Measure M transportation sales tax that was approved by voters in 2016. The federal government matched Measure M funds to finance this megaproject, he added.

                              Once Metro secures the new grant, it will be able to begin concurrent construction of all three sections of the project, Sotero said.

                              Phillip Washington, Metro chief executive officer, said in the press release that he appreciated the cooperation between local and federal government that enabled this grant to be secured.

                              “This new transit line, when fully constructed, will revolutionize the ability to connect the Westside with the rest of Los Angeles County’s growing rail and bus networks,” Washington said. “The partnership between Metro, our federal elected officials in Los Angeles County and the U.S. Department of Transportation has been seamless on this project.”

                              Metro has primarily been relocating utilities along Section 3 of the project this year, causing intermittent lane closures along Wilshire Boulevard, Sotero said.

                              Aside from the Purple Line extension, the Department of Transportation granted $18.2 million to the port of Los Angeles and $14.5 million to the port of Long Beach. The grants will finance capacity increases at their rail yards.

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