LA Metro Board advances light rail between Artesia and Slauson Station

(Myung J. Chun/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) (Getty Images)

the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transport Authority The board on Thursday advanced a 14.8-mile segment of a light rail line planned to connect south gate communities with Slauson Station and eventually Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

The Board voted to advance the first phase of the West Santa Ana Branch project segment to connect the future Pioneer Station, at Pioneer Boulevard in Artesiawith the Slauson station, in the Florence area near South Los Angeles. The second phase of the project would connect Slauson Station to Union Station.

“This is truly an important time for the West Santa Ana branch, which will one day provide this high-quality public transit to our Southeast Los Angeles and gateway cities,” said Supervisor Janice Hahn, member of the Los Angeles Board of Directors.

The timeline for the first phase of the project, according to Metro staff, is for the final environmental impact report to be certified in the winter of 2022, construction to begin in 2023, and the segment to be completed in 2033 to 2035. The final segment of Slauson Opening the segment from the station to Union Station could take decades.

“We’ve been talking about this for almost 30 years. Our community shouldn’t have to wait another 30 years to finally get that transit line that we promised,” Hahn said.

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Hahn introduced a motion, which Council also approved on Thursday, to ensure the project is not declared complete until it provides a single-seat ride from Artesia to Union Station. The motion also calls on Metro to pursue accelerated construction and financing of the project.

“I want to reiterate that anything less than this one-seater ride is just a segment and it will not be called the project,” Hahn said.

His motion also asked subway staff to include in their study of the segment from Slauson Station to Union Station a plan to include a station in Little Tokyo, an addition supported by many in the community.

As planned, the line would pass through Artesia, Cerritos, Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, South Gate, Cudahy, Bell, Huntington Park and downtown Los Angeles.

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Elected officials and residents from several communities called the meeting to express their support, as well as to ask that the entire line be expedited.

“Many of our residents rely on the bus, and this project is needed to provide them with another way to get to work and see family,” said Maria Davila, South Gate Council Member and Board Member. Eco-Rapid public transport.

Downey Mayor Blanca Pacheco said:

“This light rail will provide LA County residents with expanded access to health care, education and cultural destinations. We have been planning this project for 30 years and we need to complete this Artesia project in downtown LA “

The $8 billion project is currently partially funded by local sales tax revenues and state funding, and Metro Board members said it would seek federal funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and President Joe Biden’s Justice40 initiative.

Rep. Linda Sanchez, D-Whittier, addressed Metro’s board ahead of the vote to say the project is “well positioned for strong federal funding because it’s really about environmental justice that the Gateway area residents finally can enjoy the benefits of clean and affordable light rail.”

Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Hilda Solis said it will be the first true rail line available to communities in southeast Los Angeles County.

“This is an opportunity to create more jobs, build more housing and allow less greenhouse gas emissions and pollution in the region,” she said.

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Jose P. Rogers