LACMTA Advances Artesia-Los Angeles Light Rail ProjectWritten by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) Board on Jan. 27 approved the initial 14.8-mile segment of a planned 19.3-mile light rail line linking Artesia in southeast L.A. County and downtown L.A.
The West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor project (see map below) will serve the cities and communities of Artesia, Cerritos, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Huntington Park, Vernon, the unincorporated Florence-Graham community, and downtown L.A. LACMTA released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for project last summer.
At its Jan. 27 meeting, the LACMTA Board signed off on the 14.8-mile Slauson/A Line to Pioneer route as the Locally Preferred Alternative (LPA), which is slated to cost between $4.9 billion and $5.1 billion. It includes 12.2 miles of at-grade and 2.6 miles of aerial track; nine stations (six at grade; three aerial); and 31 grade crossings. Also approved was a maintenance and storage facility to be located on a 21-acre site in Bellflower.
The Board also OK’d Los Angeles Union Station as the northern terminus of the project.
The transit agency plans to complete by early 2023 a Final EIS/EIR for the initial segment, which it said would allow for groundbreaking in 2023 and completion by FY2033-35.
At the same time, the remaining 4.5-mile Slauson/A Line (Blue) to Union Station segment is still under study. LACMTA staff is slated to identify a cost-effective alternative to the aerial and underground route previously evaluated, which had a price tag (with the Little Tokyo station) of $4.2 billion. That put the total project cost (not including the Little Tokyo station) at $8.567 billion.
The Board said the project will not be considered complete until it provides a one-seat ride between Artesia and Union Station.
“The West Santa Ana Branch is not just a crucial project to deliver light rail to historically underserved areas of L.A. County, it’s an opportunity to stitch our region together and connect people to opportunity,” LACMTA Board Director and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “Through Measure M and collaboration across the County, we are improving congestion and air quality, and bringing high-quality public transportation to every corner of our region.”
“The action taken by our Board really represents a renewed commitment on the importance this project brings to address equity, regional mobility, environmental and economic benefits for all the Gateway Cities,” LACMTA CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins said. “The project will greatly improve access to opportunities and improve transit service to low-income riders and communities of color who have suffered for too long with higher than average rates of morbidity and mortality due to their exposure to air pollution and a lack of transit alternatives.”