L.A. leaders break ground on long-awaited Westside subway extension

After more than three decades of planning and delay, Los Angeles officials broke ground Friday on the first phase of a Westside subway extension that will expand transit options along one of the most densely populated and congested corridors in the region.

“The Purple Line is a great example of what can happen when we come together as a town,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said during the ceremony at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “This will help people get to where they need to go, cut traffic and boost the economy.”

The $2.8-billion Purple Line project will tunnel under Wilshire Boulevard for 3.9 miles, providing a rail link between downtown Los Angeles and La Cienega Boulevard in the Miracle Mile.

When completed in 2023, the segment will allow transit riders to travel faster across town and create an incentive for motorists to get out of their cars and take the subway, especially during rush hours, planners say.


Two other phases that will push the line an additional five miles into Westwood are expected to be finished by 2035 at a cost of at least $6 billion, according to preliminary estimates.

Although former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other elected officials talked repeatedly about building a “subway to the sea,” the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority never wanted to extend the Purple Line to the coast because it would add billions of dollars to the cost.

Marc Littman, a Metro spokesman, said the Expo light rail line will eventually be lengthened to Santa Monica and within a few blocks of the beach.

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