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.
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
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 .