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Santa Monica Excluded from Approved Subway Project


By Jonathan Friedman
Lookout Staff

October 29, 2010 –The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board selected a route Thursday morning for the Westside Subway line extension, and the choice was not the so-called “Subway to the Sea” that would reach Santa Monica. The chosen route, approved by a 10-0 vote with Mike Antonovich abstaining, will stretch to the VA Hospital in Westwood. But Santa Monica Mayor Pro Tem Pam O’Connor, who sits on the Metro Board, said an extension to Santa Monica is still in the cards.

The board was presented with several options for extending

the Metro Purple Line, which currently stretches from Downtown Los Angeles to the Mid-Wilshire district. But only the Westwood options were realistic since funding has been set aside for them. Metro last year committed $4.2 billion in local and federal funding for the project. The local money comes from the fund created by Measure R, the half-cent County sales tax approved by voters two years ago. There is talk that the Westwood project could need more money than what was set aside. To extend the subway to Santa Monica would cost at least another $9 billion.

O’Connor said after the meeting on Thursday, “Now we need to go to the federal government and get the rest of the money to bring it out to Santa Monica.”

She said that extending the subway to Westwood, which would take at least a decade to complete, actually helps Santa Monica’s chance of eventually being a subway line destination.

“The farther west it goes, the more likely it will be that it can go all the way to Santa Monica,” she said.

O’Connor said Santa Monica’s first priority with Measure R funding was bringing the Expo Light Rail to this city. A project to extend that line from Culver City to Downtown Santa Monica was approved earlier this year. Construction is expected to begin soon and finish in 2015. She said the focus must turn to putting pressure on the federal government or possibly other funding sources.

“Who knows what the picture will look like five, eight years from now in terms of looking for project money,” O’Connor said.

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