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West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor

Metro is evaluating a new light rail transit (LRT) line that will connect southeast LA County to downtown Los Angeles, serving the cities and communities of downtown Los Angeles, unincorporated Florence-Graham community of LA County, Vernon, Huntington Park, Bell, Cudahy, South Gate, Downey, Paramount, Bellflower, Cerritos and Artesia. The West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor (WSAB) Project is a 19-mile corridor undergoing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process to prepare the corridor for LRT.

The project area is home to 1.2 million residents and is a job center to approximately 584,000 employees. Projections show the resident population increasing to 1.5 million and jobs increasing to 670,000 by 2040. Population and employment densities are five times higher than the LA County average. This rail corridor is anticipated to serve commuters in a high travel demand corridor by providing relief to the limited transportation systems currently available to these communities. In addition, the project is expected to provide a direct connection to the Metro Green Line, Metro Blue Line and the LA County regional transit network.

Per Measure M and Metro’s Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) financial forecast, as amended, the project has a $4 billion (B) (2015$) allocation of funding (comprised of Measure M and other local, state, and federal sources). Measure M funding becomes available in two cycles:

  • FY 2028 - $1B
  • FY 2041 - $3B

The current project cost is estimated to be $6.5-$6.6B (in 2018$), contingent upon further project design, coordination with freight railroad and the Ports on Right-of-Way (ROW), and development of First/Last Mile plans and costs.

Measure M indicates that an early project delivery may be made possible with a Public-Private Partnership (P3) delivery method. A P3 with a comprehensive delivery approach is being pursued as part of a strategy for accelerating a significantly increased project scope by 2028.

Project Goals

The main goals of the WSAB project are to:

1. Provide mobility improvements
2. Support local and regional land use plans and policies
3. Minimize environmental impacts
4. Ensure cost effectiveness and financial feasibility
5. Promote equity

Current Status

Metro formally initiated the environmental process through the original public scoping meetings held for the WSAB Project in summer 2017. In March 2018, the Metro Board authorized further study of an additional four Northern Alignment options in response to comments received during the scoping period and ongoing technical analysis. These new options were presented to the community for input during the Winter/Spring 2018 Community Update Meetings. In May 2018, the Metro Board selected two Northern Alignment options --  Alternative E: Alameda Underground and Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core Underground – to proceed into the Draft EIS/EIR.

In December 2018, the Metro Board updated the project definition after receiving feedback through scoping and other ongoing outreach efforts. Key updates to the project definition include: aerial structure over the I-10 (Santa Monica) Freeway; five new aerial grade separations; three proposed stations removed from further study (Washington, Vernon, 183rd/Gridley); removal of the optional Bloomfield extension and station; and elimination of Alternative G2 (Pershing Square design option).

Additionally, as directed by the Board, a separate Feasibility Study will be conducted for a potential station at the LA River and Rio Hondo confluence site in South Gate to determine whether to advance it into environmental review after the completion of the environmental process for the WSAB Project.

Initial Operating Segments (IOS)

Metro is evaluating the following two IOS options as part of the Environmental Impact Statement/Environmental Impact Report (EIS/EIR) to accelerate delivery of the Project faster than assumed in the Measure M Expenditure Plan:

  • IOS 1 – I-105 (Century) Freeway/Green Line Station to Pioneer Station
  • IOS 2 – Slauson Station to Pioneer Station

These IOS options were developed based on physical infrastructure limits and barriers, major origins/destinations, market trends and high activity areas. Proposed stations serving major activity areas and operational feasibility were also considered. These options were identified for further evaluation based on how they met the project’s five goals.

The EIS/EIR will study the entire project and the two IOS options. If an IOS option is implemented, connectivity to downtown LA could be accomplished via a transfer to existing Metro lines.

Public-Private Partnership (P3)

Metro is evaluating the feasibility and potential benefits of delivering WSAB through a Public-Private Partnership (P3) program. P3s do not provide additional funding, but may enhance financial capacity to advance construction in certain cases, along with other potential benefits to the project. Metro is engaging with the P3 industry to explore options to enhance financial capacity in order to advance construction of the full corridor.

Project Delivery and Coordination

The project is on schedule for environmental clearance and the Draft EIS/EIR is expected to be released in December 2020. The Metro Board is anticipated to select a Locally Preferred Alternative in April 2021.

The WSAB Project involves a shared corridor of approximately 10 miles of freight-owned ROW that runs along the Wilmington and La Habra Branches (owned by Union Pacific Railroad, UPRR) and the San Pedro Subdivision (owned by the Ports of LA and Long Beach). Staff is actively coordinating with UPRR and the Ports to obtain agreement on design and ROW, which is needed to advance the project.

Metro is committed to a comprehensive outreach program that provides project stakeholders with the necessary tools and resources to be educated and informed, and provide valuable input at key milestones. The Draft EIS/EIR is anticipated to be circulated in December 2020 and will include public hearings in early 2021 and an official public comment period. To submit your feedback on the project, please use our comment form .


Northern Alignment Alternatives

Alternatives E and G are the two northern alignments currently being evaluated in the Draft EIS/EIR with the following station termini options:

  • Alternative E: Alameda Underground
    • Los Angeles Union Station (LAUS) Forecourt
    • LAUS east of the Metropolitan Water District (MWD)
  • Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core Underground
    • At 8 th St/Flower, with a pedestrian connection to 7 th St/Metro Center

Project Map

West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor_Project Overview Map

Northern Alignment Map

Southern Alignment Map

Contact Us

Please use the following contact tools to access more project information, ask questions or provide comments.

Meghna Khanna
Project Manager
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
One Gateway Plaza, M/S 99-22-7
Los Angeles, CA  90012
(213) 922-6262


Project Highlights

The WSAB Project’s environmental process is well defined by federal requirements stipulated in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and state environmental requirements stipulated in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The flow chart below highlights the major milestones in the environmental study phase.

Project Timeline

Project Timeline

*Timeline subject to change


In February 2013, Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) approved the Alternatives Analysis (AA) Study of the corridor that analyzed opportunities to connect Los Angeles and Orange Counties along a 34-mile long corridor from Union Station in LA County to the City of Santa Ana in Orange County. The AA study recommended Light Rail Transit (LRT) as the preferred transit mode and two northern alignment alternatives (West Bank 3 and East Bank) for further consideration.

In 2015, Metro conducted a Technical Refinement Study (TRS) building upon the analysis and recommendations in the SCAG AA, with a focus on the LA County segment of the Pacific Electric Right-of-Way (ROW)/WSAB corridor. This study identified four new northern alignment options, updated capital cost and ridership forecasts, and analyzed specific challenges identified in the SCAG AA within the LA County segment.

In April 2017, Metro released the Northern Alignment Options Screening Report, which analyzed six alignment options for the northern portion of the project. Upon review, the Metro Board of Directors approved carrying forward four of the Northern Alignment Options identified in the TRS for environmental study and initiating the scoping process for this project.

Metro formally initiated the environmental process through the original public scoping meetings held for the WSAB Project in summer 2017. In March 2018, the Metro Board authorized further study of an additional four Northern Alignment options in response to comments received during the scoping period and ongoing technical analysis. These new options were presented to the community for input during the Winter/Spring 2018 Community Update Meetings. In May 2018, the Metro Board selected two Northern Alignment options to proceed into the Draft EIS/EIR:

  • Alternative E: Alameda Underground
  • Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core Underground

In December 2018, the Metro Board updated the project definition after receiving feedback through scoping and other ongoing outreach efforts. Key updates to the project definition include: aerial structure over the I-10 (Santa Monica) Freeway; five new aerial grade separations; three proposed stations removed from further study (Washington, Vernon, 183rd/Gridley); removal of the optional Bloomfield extension and station; and elimination of Alternative G2 (Pershing Square design option).

Additionally, as directed by the Board, a separate Feasibility Study will be conducted for a potential station at the LA River and Rio Hondo confluence site in South Gate to determine whether to advance it into environmental review after the completion of the environmental process for the WSAB Project.

Regional Overview

In 2016, the Gateway Cities Council of Governments (COG) , which represents 27 cities in Southeast Los Angeles County, developed a Strategic Transportation Plan (STP) that unified the vision for all elements of the transportation system, including the WSAB transit component.  The STP developed local resources and builds on previous transportation studies to create an integrated transportation system for the 27 cities in the Gateway Cities Subregion. The STP enables individual cities to understand how their transportation plans and decisions impact neighboring cities and vice versa — how individual cities fit within the larger region.


WSAB Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan (TOD SIP)

In order to maximize the transit investment that will be made in the WSAB corridor, and to ensure that communities along the corridor equitably benefit from the investment, Metro facilitated the development of a Transit Oriented Development Strategic Implementation Plan (“TOD SIP”). The Plan was funded by the FTA Pilot TOD Project program, and completed in partnership with the City of South Gate, and Eco-Rapid Transit.  The TOD SIP is an effort that is distinct from the environmental process currently underway for the WSAB Project to define the transit corridor alignment and station locations.

What is the TOD SIP?

The Plan provides an overarching vision and strategic guidance for local WSAB jurisdictions to use as a reference as they develop and implement their own plans, policies and economic development and mobility strategies in the 12 station areas along the alignment. This information will support station areas in equitably and sustainably transforming, as well as in becoming safe and accessible via multiple modes of mobility.

Six strategies and a host of related actions are described in the Plan:

  • Establishing shared Governance approaches within the corridor for collaboration among local jurisdictions;
  • Ensuring Equitable Development & Community Preservation go hand in hand in the station areas and populations in the corridor today can stay in the corridor in the future;
  • Transit Supportive Planning to allow appropriate density and enforce consistent development standards in the corridor;
  • Placemaking to ensure the public realm is active and inviting across the corridor;
  • Mobility, Access & Connectivity for users of all transportation modes; and
  • Sustainability & Resilience to ensure that current environmental justice issues in the corridor are addressed and 21st century infrastructure is put in place to serve future needs while minimizing resource use.

The 12 station areas along the WSAB corridor have been characterized in the TOD SIP by type or typology, and the plan provides key characteristics and visualizations of the five development typologies. A vision for each station has been articulated, along with a concept plan representing development that could occur, assuming that the identified priority actions are taken. The ½-mile walk shed and 3-mile micro mobility (bicycle and other human powered device) shed for each station area has also been studied, and a network of facilities that would ensure 360-degree access to each station has been identified.

With the common understanding established in the TOD SIP, each WSAB community can more effectively direct public resources toward attracting the types of station area development and businesses that are aligned with their particular needs and individual competitive advantages. Adopting coordinated governance strategies and policies, as well as development guidance and access strategies will produce more equitable, sustainable, and impactful benefits for corridor communities, and more transit ridership overall, than would result from local jurisdictions acting alone. Further, taking a unified position to guide and influence regional, state and federal policies, and advocate for a share of regional resources should result in more resources for all.

With the completion of the TOD SIP, city and county staff are expected to review the recommendations with their local decision makers and stakeholders, and use the guidance within the Plan to inform their own station area planning, programs and implementation actions.

Materials

WSAB TOD SIP

WSAB TOD SIP Appendices

Contact Us

For more information, please contact Melani Smith, Senior Director, Countywide Planning & Development, at (213) 922-7276 or smithm8@metro.net .


As part of the planning efforts for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor (WSAB) Project, Metro conducted a series of rail tours on the existing Metro Gold Line and Expo Line in Spring 2019 to provide stakeholders along the WSAB corridor with first-hand knowledge of Metro’s Light Rail Transit (LRT) system by experiencing it for themselves. The tour included stops on the Gold Line at the South Pasadena and Del Mar Stations, and on the Expo Line at the Expo Park/USC, Culver City and Westwood/Rancho Park Stations. These tours highlighted key LRT features that are similar to what is being proposed for the WSAB Project, including: existing station design, stations/system compatibility with surrounding communities, aerial and street-level alignments and stations, safety/security features, soundwalls to reduce noise, and multi-modal access/connections at stations.

If you were unable to join us, below are links to the materials that can be used to conduct a self-guided tour, including the itinerary/information packet, project fact sheet, and Metro’s Trip Planner.

Metro also prepared a short video highlighting the key features discussed at each of the Gold Line and Expo Line stations visited as part of the tours. The rail tours video provides the experience of the tour from the comfort of your digital device.

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Tour Materials