LA's "Subway to the Sea" Makes Headway With New $2.1 Billion Fund

An additional $856 million loan was provided by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act

By Ted Chen and Irene Moore
|  Wednesday, May 21, 2014  |  Updated 11:56 PM PDT
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The federal money secured by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will fund the Purple Line’s extension along Wilshire Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard, the first phase in a plan that supporters hope will eventually reach the coast in Santa Monica. Ted Chen reports from Beverly Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

Ted Chen/Scott Spiro

The federal money secured by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will fund the Purple Line’s extension along Wilshire Boulevard to La Cienega Boulevard, the first phase in a plan that supporters hope will eventually reach the coast in Santa Monica. Ted Chen reports from Beverly Hills for the NBC4 News at 6 on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.

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A 50-year effort to get a subway to Los Angeles' west side took a big step forward Wednesday when LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the Metro Purple Line extension project would receive $2.1 billion in federal funding.

The funds would be used to extend the line 3.9 miles along Wilshire Boulevard from its current route at Western Avenue ending at La Cienega Boulevard, the first phase of a 9-mile subway extension.

"And while Los Angeles is a global city, to be a world class city, we need a world class transportation system," Garcetti said.

An additional $856 million loan was provided by the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act to help benefit the project, dubbed the "Subway to the Sea."

The westward extension of the Metro Purple Line to La Cienega Boulevard could take at least 10 years, officials said. Additional potential plans included adding seven stops on a route through Beverly Hills, Century City and Westwood.

"You know these projects that get people out of their cars and into transit is such a win, win," Sen. Barbara Boxer said.

Funding for the extension, estimated at around $6 billion, has been challenged by officials who wanted to cut back on transportation funds and residents who don't want a path under Beverly Hills High School.

Construction on the westward extension was expected to generate over 20,000 jobs and upon completion have a ridership of 30,000 people.

"I think it's the single most important project the city has ever built," transportation expert Roger Rudick said. "This is our Manhattan. Wilshire Boulevard is our Manhattan."

Metro was expected to hold a meeting May 27 at 5:30 p.m. to provide an overview of contruction-related noise during the project. Residents can attend the meeting, which will be at the Petersen Automotive Museum at 6060 Wilshire Boulevard, on the fourth floor.

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