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AASHTO Journal

Foxx Announces $1.6B Funding Package for Next Phase of LA Subway Line Extension

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx formally announced a $1.6 billion federal funding package for the Westside Purple Line Extension Section 2 project in Los Angeles, continuing federal support for expanding that subway service in one of the city's busiest corridors.

"Thanks to a strong local vision and federal support, Los Angeles will continue its transformation from the nation's car capital to one that embraces sustainable, multimodal solutions that increase access to opportunity," said Foxx.

The first section of the Purple Line Extension is already under construction and will run 3.9 miles, taking the subway an estimated 11 minutes to move from its current terminus at Wilshire/Western to Century City Station.

capitol0816.jpgThe 2.6-mile Section 2 extension would bring rapid underground rail transit to more areas along Wilshire Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles through Beverly Hills to Century City, a corridor backers say now experiences extensive roadway congestion and high demand for more transit capacity.

Foxx and Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers joined local officials in Los Angeles Jan. 4 for a ceremonial signing of the funding agreements with the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the $2.4 billion project.

Included is a construction grant agreement for $1.187 billion through the FTA's Capital Investment Grant program, a long-term, low-interest loan agreement for up to $307 million through DOT's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act credit program and $169 million in funding from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program. The FTA said it is committing to provide the capital grant money over 12 years on an annual payment schedule, subject to congressional appropriations.

The local agency, known as LA Metro, said total funding for the second phase includes $747 million from a "Measure R" half-cent sales tax that L.A. County voters approved in 2008. Section two is expected to cost about $2.4 billion to build. "Bottom line: Without the Measure R funds, Metro would almost certainly not have received the federal funding," the authority said.

This phase of the subway extension will add two stations at Wilshire/Rodeo and Century City/Constellation that are expected to open in 2026 and account for more than 36,000 daily trips by 2035.

Metro said it is in the process of selecting a contractor to build the subway extension's second phase, and plans to recommend one to its board later this month.

But it said that "pre-construction activities – including utility work relocation – for the second phase are already underway," with major construction to begin in 2018. It expects completion of that phase to be no later than 2026, in line with its agreement with the FTA. But Metro CEO Phil Washington said the authority aims to finish the project by 2024, before a potential Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

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