Line Funding Gets Green Light
By Lookout Staff
September 6 -- The Expo
light-rail line to Santa Monica moved
closer to reality Wednesday after
the California Transportation Commission
greenlighted $315 million for the
The funding, which was approved unanimously without
debate, comes after a budget deadlock in Sacramento
threatened to delay the project, which is expected
to alleviate congestion on the traffic-snarled
Wednesday’s action "ensures continued
progress without interruption in building the
Expo light-rail line to Culver City and ultimately
to Santa Monica," Zev Yaroslavsky, who chairs
the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors wrote
in a statement issued shortly after the vote.
"It hastens the day we can finish the project
and bring mass rapid transit and a measure of
genuine traffic relief to the people of West Los
The commission’s move provides nearly half
of the $640 million needed to complete the first
phase of the Exposition Line -- an 8.5 mile stretch
of rail from Downtown Los Angeles to Culver City
-- which began construction last year.
The first phase is slated to be finished in 2010,
paving the way for the next phase that will connect
Culver City to Santa Monica, which is still in
the planning stages..
Wednesday’s vote came despite worries that
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s cuts in transportation
funding would indefinitely stall the Expo line,
which would end in Downtown Santa Monica.
Earlier this year the Santa Monica City Council
supported the most direct path into the city,
following an existing right-of-way along Exposition
The other proposed route to Santa Monica would
add approximately one mile of track along Sepulveda
Boulevard and Venice Boulevard, before linking
back up at Exposition Boulevard near the 405 Freeway
and coming into Santa Monica.
In addition to making recommendations on the
path, the council adopted a Planning Commission
proposal that asks Construction Authorities to
consider adding a third Santa Monica station near
Santa Monica College on 17th Street on the public
right of way, running parallel to Olympic Boulevard
The station would serve Santa Monica College,
as well as businesses and high-density apartments
in the area, according to City officials.
Currently, four possible Santa Monica sites are
being considered for the project, according to
maps unveiled at a March 6 public meeting.
However, transit officials have said fewer stops
would keep ridership high and the line a success.
Currently two stations are likely under consideration
-- Bergamot Station and a site on
Colorado and Fourth Street, the proposed
light rail terminus, where the City
recently purchased a building from
Sears for $35 million.