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U.S. Department of Transportation Commits Nearly $1.3 Billion in New Funding for Section Three of the Metro Purple Line Extension to Westwood

Tuesday February 11, 2020

A federal grant totaling nearly $1.3 billion to help build the third and final phase of the Metro Purple Line Extension to Westwood/VA Hospital in Westwood was sent today by the U.S. Department of Transportation to Capitol Hill, the last step before the agreement is signed between the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro).

The $1.3 billion federal grant will be delivered through a multi-year agreement known as a Full Funding Grant Agreement that is governed by the FTA’s Capital Investment Grant program, popularly referred to as New Starts. The $1.3 billion is a stand-alone grant agreement, with no required loans for Metro to pay back as in previous funding agreements for Sections 1 and 2 of the extension. The overall cost for this section of the project is $3.6 billion, with remaining funds coming from Metro’s voter-approved transportation sales tax measures.  

Once this Full Funding Grant Agreement is finalized – following a 30-day review period on Capitol Hill mandated by the surface transportation authorization legislation known as the FAST Act – it will deliver $1.3 billion for one of L.A. County’s most critically needed public transit projects – a subway primarily under Wilshire Boulevard that will finally connect downtown Los Angeles and Westwood with service en route to the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Century City.         

“I am thankful to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao for sending, earlier today, a $1.3-billion Full Funding Grant Agreement for the Westside Purple Line Extension (Segment 3) to Capitol Hill,” said Inglewood Mayor and Metro Board Chair James Butts. “It is my understanding that Congress will now have 30 days to review this billion-dollar federal funding agreement and after that we can sign it and redouble our efforts to establish a fast and effective rail line – connecting the Westside with the rest of Los Angeles County.

“I want to offer a special thank you to U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein for championing this project as a powerful member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations,” added Board Chair Butts. “I also want to express my appreciation to U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congressman Ted Lieu and all members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation for uniting behind this project and ensuring this federal grant would move forward with dispatch through the U.S. Department of Transportation.”

Metro is now actively building the first two sections of the subway and has begun some initial preparatory construction activities for Section 3 between Century City and Westwood. Major construction is expected to start later this year. The three sections of the seven-mile Purple Line Extension are expected to open, respectively, in 2023, 2025 and 2027. 

“This is exciting and greatly welcome news to everyone in my district who waited patiently for the okay for the Purple Line Extension to the Westside,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Sheila Kuehl.  “Kudos and thanks to our federal partners for helping us deliver this critically important transit project to the taxpayers of L.A. County.”

“I want to express my sincere appreciation to Senator Dianne Feinstein for her strong, sure and steady support for this $1.3 billion federal funding agreement to construct the last segment of the Westside Purple Line Extension – from Century City to the future VA/Westwood station,” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington. “This new transit line, when fully constructed, will revolutionize the ability to connect the Westside with the rest of Los Angeles County’s growing rail and bus networks. In addition to Senator Feinstein championing this transit project, I want to express my sincere thanks to members of the Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation, Secretary Elaine Chao and Acting FTA Administrator K. Jane Williams. The partnership between Metro, our federal elected officials in Los Angeles County and the U.S. Department of Transportation has been seamless on this project, and today’s news of a $1.3-billion federal grant for the Westside Purple Line Extension (Segment 3) is emblematic of this fact.”

The Purple Line Extension to the Westwood/VA Hospital station will garner about 49,300 daily weekday boardings at the seven new stations. There will be about 78,000 new daily trips on the full Metro Rail System as a result of opening this line.

“We support the FFGA for the Purple Line Extension,” said Ron Miller, Executive Secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents 150,000 skilled construction workers in 47 local unions. “Many of our members are on the job right now building the Purple Line and other Metro projects under a Project Labor Agreement that is bringing diverse communities into our workforce. We are proud to partner with L.A. County Metro to promote good careers. We urge our Congressional delegation to continue its leadership to promote LA as the center of innovation for mass transit in our country.”

Over 300,000 workers travel into the Westside every morning from throughout the region — and the Westside is the second largest job center in our region. More than 100,000 trips also leave the area for outside destinations. The Purple Line extension will offer improved connectivity to the entire Metro Bus and Rail network, as well as transfers to municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services. 

About Metro

The Purple Line Extension Project is one of dozens of mobility improvements included in Measure M, L.A. County’s 2016 sales tax measure approved by 71 percent of voters. As a result, Metro is building the largest transportation program in the United States with more than $120 billion being invested in new transit lines, more efficient roadways and bike and pedestrian upgrades. Under the agency’s Vision 2028 plan, Metro is pursuing broad strategies — from new bus lanes to testing congestion fees — that will provide alternatives to solo driving and will vastly improve the environment and quality of life in L.A. County.

“The Chamber has worked closely with Metro to increase mobility to the ten million residents of Los Angeles County, because we understand that for businesses to prosper in southern California – we need goods and people to flow effectively in our region,” said L.A. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Maria S. Salinas. “When fully constructed the Westside Purple Line Extension can provide Los Angeles County residents with substantial economic and environmental benefits, as well as much needed relief from traffic congestion. We’re excited that this project has been sent to Congress for the 30-day review period, when completed the Purple Line Extension will connect downtown Los Angeles, the hub commerce and innovation, with the University of California, Los Angeles – which is home to over 42,000 undergraduate and graduate students, our workforce of tomorrow.”

Metro is the lead transportation planning and funding agency for L.A. County and carries about 1.2 million boardings daily on a fleet of 2,200 low-emission buses and six rail lines. Stay informed by following Metro on The Source and El Pasajero at metro.net, facebook.com/losangelesmetro, twitter.com/metrolosangeles and twitter.com/metroLAalerts and instagram.com/metrolosangeles.