The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today approved the Draft Environmental Impact Statement/Report (EIS/R) for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector projects, clearing the way for both projects to enter final environmental review and preliminary engineering.
In approving the environmental drafts, the Board also approved Metro staff recommendations for the Locally Preferred Alternatives (LPA) – the routes the projects would take through their respective project areas. For the Westside Subway Project, the recommended route is a subway extension running between the Wilshire/Western Metro Purple Line Terminus to Westwood/VA Hospital, a distance of approximately nine miles. For the Regional Connector Project, the recommended route is a nearly two-mile, fully underground light rail line connecting the Metro Gold Line, Metro Blue Line, and future Expo Line through Downtown Los Angeles. The LPA recommendation to eliminate the 5th/Flower Station was approved. The Board, however, requested Metro staff to report back at the December Board meeting whether there was private sector interest in funding a further study of the 5th/Flower Station.
In the Final EIS/R phase, agency planners will further analyze environmental issues for route and station options that were carried forward from the draft. At the end of the approximately one-year final environmental review process, the Metro Board will decide the project that will ultimately be built utilizing local Measure R transportation sales tax monies. Metro is also currently seeking matching funds through the federal New Starts Program for these projects.
Both projects are expected to fill two major gaps in the Los Angeles area rail system, providing faster, more reliable travel times for transit commuters while increasing project trips throughout the Metro Rail system.
“Today’s Board decision to move both of these projects forward simultaneously is a major milestone in the history of transit in Los Angeles County,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Don Knabe. “What’s more, the Board’s action is a vote of confidence that these projects will best compete for immediate federal funding as our agency moves aggressively to fulfill the promise of Measure R and the accelerated timeline of 30/10.”