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Metro Officially Breaks Ground on Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line Light Rail Project


Saturday July 17, 2004

Metro officials joined local, state and federal officials, today, to break ground and begin construction on the Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line light rail project after the agency secured a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) last month from the Federal Transit Administration.

Leading ground-breaking ceremonies for the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension are, from left, Los Angeles City Councilman Tom Labonge, Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, U.S. Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard, Los Angeles City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa, Metro CEO Roger Snoble, and Santa Monica Councilwoman Pam O'Connor. 

"This is truly an historic day for Los Angeles and for Eastside residents who rely heavily on public transit to get where they need to go," said Metro Board Chairman Frank Roberts. "After waiting decades for a rail line of their own, the Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line, once completed, will link this community with direct access to downtown Los Angeles and beyond." The Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line is Metro's highest-priority rail construction project. It will include eight stations and serve one of the most densely populated areas of Los Angeles County from Union Station eastward through Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles to a terminus at Pomona and Atlantic boulevards. "It's a time to celebrate a great victory. After more than ten years of struggling to bring rail access to the highly transit-dependent communities of Little Tokyo, Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, we will break ground on this crucial link to the regional transportation system," said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina. "This would not have happened without a united community, united local leaders, and a united congressional delegation. We should all be proud to say, 'Next Stop: East L.A'." Cost of the project is projected at $898.8 million with half of the funding coming from the federal government ($490.7 million) and the rest coming from state and local funds. Last month, construction contracts to build the extension were signed and executed on the project, which is expected to begin service in December 2009. The Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line will offer faster and more convenient access to many destinations. With the construction of the Eastside Extension, the communities of East Los Angeles and Little Tokyo will be connected by Metro Rail to Long Beach, Hollywood, and the San Fernando Valley, Downtown Los Angeles, Pasadena and more. "It is with a great deal of excitement and pride that I join the many leaders of this community who worked together to make today's groundbreaking of the Metro Gold Line Eastside Extension a reality," said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34th). "For more than a decade, leaders past and present have fought tirelessly to overcome the many obstacles that have threatened our efforts to bring affordable and efficient transportation to the residents of East Los Angeles. The Gold Line is important to our communities because it will help enhance the quality of life for families by increasing their mobility and access to jobs and key services. I can't think of a better cause for a community celebration." Estimated ridership on the Eastside Extension is projected at 23,000 weekday boarding passengers by the year 2020. The hours of operation will coincide with Metro's other rail lines (approximately 4 a.m. to 2 a.m., seven days a week). Estimated running time from Union Station to Pomona/Atlantic will be 17 minutes. "I am very proud, today, to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Eastside Extension of the Metro Gold Line," said Los Angeles City Councilman Antonio Villaraigosa. "The communities in Boyle Heights, Little Tokyo and East Los Angeles will now be linked to Union Station and the growing Metro Rail system and make transportation to the rest of the city and county easier, safer, and more enjoyable. I am proud to be part of the team, including our congressional delegation, that worked together to secure federal funding to make this project possible and I look forward to continuing to work with the Metro and local leaders to connect diverse parts of the city." The six-mile extension will include eight additional stations with stops at Little Tokyo/Arts District, Pico/Aliso, Mariachi Plaza, Soto Street, Indiana, Maravilla, East LA Civic Center and Pomona/Atlantic. A 1.8-mile segment running through a densely populated area in Boyle Heights will be constructed underground featuring two underground stations. The remainder of the system will be build at street level. In June, following the approval of the FFGA, Metro executed a $600.4 million contract with Eastside LRT Constructors to begin construction. Eastside LRT is a joint venture of Washington Group International, Obayashi Corporation and Shimmick Construction Corporation.