The last segment of funding to complete a long-gestating Los Angeles County rail line project that would ferry riders between Downtown Los Angeles and West Los Angeles has been secured, according to state officials.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is expected to accept a $1.3 billion grant from the federal government for improvements to the Purple Line — also known as the D Line — after a 30-day congressional review period. The grant was announced by Calif. Sen. Dianne Feinstein in a press release on Tuesday, Feb. 11.
The $1.3 billion loan will go toward completing Section 3 of the project, which will add 2.56 miles of rail lines and add two new stations: the Westwood/UCLA station and a station at the Westwood Veterans Affairs Hospital. The grant comes from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program and does not require any form of payments from Metro. The total cost of the final leg of the project is $3.6 billion and the remaining funds will be generated through Measure R and Measure M, two sales tax measures approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2006 and 2018 respectively to fund transportation projects.
The construction costs for section 1 and 2 were paid primarily through revenue from Measure R and Measure M as well as two federal grants.
Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said in a press release that the Purple Line “will revolutionize the ability to connect the Westside with the rest of Los Angeles County’s growing rail and bus networks.”
The new nine-mile line is scheduled to open in three parts, the first, being the Koreatown through Mid-Wilshire segment which is expected to open by 2023. The Beverly Hills-through-Century City portion is eying a 2025 opening and the the final West L.A. length will open by 2027 if everything remains on schedule. The plan, officials say, is to have the line open before Los Angeles hosts the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The Metro Board of Directors approved the project in 2012 after a five-year planning, analysis and environmental review process.
Most of the line will run under Wilshire Boulevard and is expected to add close to 80,000 new daily riders once completed. Rail ridership for Metro has consistently fallen over the past few years, with Metro experiencing a 4.2% drop between 2017 and 2018, and a similar drop from 2018-2019. Bus ridership has experienced comparable issues when it comes to ridership.
In a prepared statement, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti thanked state leadership for their help in securing the funds.
“Los Angeles is in the midst of a once-in-a-generation moment for public transportation — when the idea of linking the westside to Downtown is no longer a distant dream, but a reality that’s within our grasp,” Garcetti said.
The Port of Los Angeles was also awarded $18.2 million to add 11,500 feet of track and increase the capacity at the existing railyard. The Port of Long Beach also received $14.5 million for similar improvements.