By Steve Hymon, September 30, 2014
The official groundbreaking for the $1.42-billion Regional Connector project is being held this morning in Little Tokyo. The 1.9-mile underground light rail line will link the Blue, Expo and Gold Lines, allowing for faster and more frequent service on Metro’s light rail lines to and through downtown Los Angeles.
The project will also eliminate the need to transfer for many light rail riders. Riders on the Expo and Blue Line will be able to continue north on light rail from 7th/Metro Center to other downtown neighborhoods such as the Financial District, Civic Center and Little Tokyo. Likewise, Gold Line riders will no longer have to transfer to the Red/Purple Line subway at Union Station to reach the heart of downtown.
The project is currently forecast to be completed in 2020. When done, Metro plans to run trains between Long Beach and Azusa on a north-south light rail line and east-west between Santa Monica and East Los Angeles. Metro continues to work on potential naming and color schemes for its light rail lines to be used in the future.
Three other Metro Rail projects are already under construction: the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line, the six-mile second phase of the Expo Line to downtown Santa Monica and the 11.5-mile Gold Line Foothill Extension to the Azusa/Glendora border. The 3.9-mile first phase of the Purple Line Extension subway is in pre-construction with utility relocations underway.
The Regional Connector, like those other projects, is receiving funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters in November 2008.
Below are the station renderings. We’ll add more pics to The Source from today’s media event later and will be posting photos to our Twitter and Instagram streams during the event. Media, bloggers, anyone: feel free to use/share any photos or renderings that we post.
Here is the news release from Metro:
Federal, State & Local Elected Officials Join in Groundbreaking Ceremony
Metro Breaks Ground on New Regional Connector Light Rail Project in Downtown Los Angeles
Metro joined U.S Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx along with state and local elected officials today to officially break ground on the $1.420 billion Regional Connector Light Rail Project in downtown Los Angeles that will better connect the Metro Blue, Gold and Expo lines with the rest of the region.
“This project will mean people can take a one-seat ride through Pasadena, Long Beach, Santa Monica, the Eastside and points in-between,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “Bringing our rail lines together and making transfers simpler will make it easier for people to use rail and will help take more cars off the road.”
The Regional Connector Project completes a 1.9-mile segment between the Metro Blue and Expo Lines and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for 1st Street/Central Avenue, 2nd Street/Broadway and 2nd Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.
“The Regional Connector will dramatically improve passengers’ daily commutes,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Gloria Molina.”It will provide them with better connections to the rest of the Metro Rail system without requiring them to transfer from one line to another. The Regional Connector is a major step forward in transforming Los Angeles County’s mass transit network into a truly world-class system.”
The Regional Connector Project is an important rail connection project overwhelmingly approved by the voters and funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax ordinance for LA County transportation improvements. In addition to Measure R funding, a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) with the federal government secures $670 million for the project. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Metro a loan of $160 million for the Regional Connector project from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan (TIFIA) to complete the project.
“The Regional Connector is an example of our commitment to develop transportation projects that serve the entire County,” said Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe. “This project will make it easy and seamless for commuters to get to their destination, which has a huge impact on their quality-of-life. Linking lines that cover nearly every corner of the County will vastly improve Metro’s network and the experience of our riders. This is exactly the type of project voters asked for when they approved Measure R – expanding transit to serve all residents.”
The Regional Connector Project, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-seat, one fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.
“The groundbreaking for the Regional Connector is another welcomed step in increasing the efficiency of our Metro system,” said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard. “When the Regional Connector is completed, many of my constituents commuting through Downtown will have a chance to reduce their commuting time by 20 minutes. I hope that Metro Rail’s expansion plans will continue to bring rail service to new parts of L.A. County. Many of the communities I represent, including the Southeast cities, would benefit greatly from further Metro expansion.”
The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout the County. Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.
“While its execution will be grand in scale, the Regional Connector’s true aim is simply to make the lives of those who depend on public transit better,” said Los Angeles Councilmember and former Metro Board Member José Huizar. “From helping parents get home sooner to be with their children, to taking the stress out of being stuck in traffic, to reducing pollution so the air we breathe is cleaner – these quality of life attributes will be the true legacy of this great project and I am proud to help bring the Regional Connector to Downtown L.A.”
In April, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors approved a $927.2 million contract to Regional Connector Constructors, a joint venture between Skanska USA Civil West California District, Inc. and Traylor Brothers Inc. to design and build the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project.
In awarding the contract, it was noted that Skanska/Traylor had the overall highest ranking including the highest technical score and the highest evaluated score for pricing, based on the criteria in the request for proposals. In recommending the award of the contract, staff noted that Skanska/Traylor indicated that they plan to finish construction 115 days early and will absorb the cost of any delays caused by Metro or subcontractors.