LA Under-School Subway Extension Passes Despite Opposition

LOS ANGELES (CN) – Beverly Hills High School could soon have a commuter train running beneath it, despite opposition from city and school officials to the $2.5-billion subway line extension.

Los Angeles County is set to receive over $1.5 billion in federal funding to extend its mostly underground rail commuter line 3.9 miles along a route that would run beneath Beverly Hills High School.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the $1.656 billion in federal funding on his website Wednesday, claiming it will enable Los Angeles County to build the “world-class transit system our people deserve.”

The Federal Transit Administration will give the Metropolitan Transit Authority a $1.187-billion capital investment grant, plus a $307-million loan via the U.S. Dept. of Transportation’s TIFIA [Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act] program.

The rest of the federal funds will come from the federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program, which is chipping in $169 million, according to Garcetti.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is providing another $836 million in matching funding, raising the total funding to $2.5 billion to extend its Purple Line from Downtown Los Angles to West Los Angeles, mostly underneath Wilshire Boulevard, Garcetti said.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. estimated extending the line will support more than 25,000 jobs.

Concerned about safety and potential environmental impacts from construction, the city of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District in 2013 sued to stop the line extension in Superior Court, but they lost their case.

They tried again in federal court but faced another loss in August, although the court ordered additional environmental impact studies.

They filed yet another lawsuit in November 2016 to reroute the line.

The city of Beverly Hills and the school district want the extension to run along a route beneath Santa Monica Boulevard, but the transportation authority says that would bring the subway line too close to an area known for its seismic activity.

Garcetti said the 3.9-mile Purple Line extension would occur in two sections.

The first would extend from the intersection at Wilshire and Western to Wilshire and La Cienega. The second section would run another 2.6 miles to Wilshire and Rodeo and on to Century City, with two new stations planned.

The transportation authority estimates the extension would support nearly 54,000 more daily riders and boost the subway’s daily ridership to 215,000, the LA Times reported.

Work on the line extension is already underway, with the first section of the line extension to be completed by 2023. The second section will be done by 2026.

 

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