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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.