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Overview

Metro is evaluating a new light rail transit line that would connect downtown Los Angeles to southeast LA County, 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 (WSAB) Transit Corridor Project is a 19-mile corridor that is undergoing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process to prepare the corridor for light rail use. The project’s name originates from the southern portion of the route south of the Metro Green Line that follows the old Pacific Electric streetcar alignment known as the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor.

The project area is home to 1.2 million residents and 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 constrained 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 , Metro Regional Connector 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). Per Measure M, funding becomes available in two cycles as follows:

Measure M Expected Opening Date LRTP Funding Allocation (2015$)
FY 2028 $1 billion ($535 million Measure M)
FY 2041 $3 billion ($900 million Measure M)

This project is also part of the Twenty-Eight by ‘28 initiative that highlights 28 Metro projects for potential completion by the 2028 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games.

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: Union Station (underground) and Alternative G: Downtown Transit Core (underground) - to be carried into the Draft EIS/EIR for further study. As a result of the new Northern Alignment options, updated scoping meetings were held in July 2018. All comments submitted during that time are part of the official record and will be analyzed and addressed as part of the environmental review process.

Based on the comments received as part of the scoping process, ongoing coordination with corridor cities, particularly cities in the south, and ongoing refinement of technical and environmental analyses in order to minimize or avoid environmental impacts, the Metro Board considered and took action in December 2018 that updated the project definition to be used in the environmental studies.

Key updates to the project definition include, but are not limited to:

  • Aerial structure over the I-10 freeway will be added; this structure will begin on the north side of the freeway and continue south to the Slauson Station
  • Five aerial grade separations will be added along the corridor

The following project components will be removed from further consideration:

  • Three proposed stations (Washington, Vernon, and 183rd/Gridley)
  • Optional Bloomfield extension and station
  • Alternative G2 (Pershing Square design option)

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.

The current updated end-to-end project capital cost for the two alternatives (Alternatives E & G) is estimated at $6.5 to $6.6B (in 2018$). The cost includes Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) right-of-way estimates, but these numbers are contingent upon negotiation with the freight railroads. The first-last mile (FLM) cost estimates will be prepared during the Advanced Conceptual Engineering phase and will increase the project capital cost estimate.

Public involvement is of vital importance for all communities involved. Therefore, community outreach will continue throughout the environmental process to educate, inform and gather input from stakeholders. To submit your feedback on the project, please use our comment form .

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