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Expo Line: Tunnel Approved, Construction Starts, Hearings Planned

Actual construction of the second phase of the Expo Line began this month, with the demolition of an old freight viaduct over Motor Avenue in Cheviot Hills, and the construction of parking lots along Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica.

As construction starts on the next Expo Line phase, a major federal approval was received this week to link trains across downtown Los Angeles, and open houses were scheduled on the .

The planned hearings come as the federal government approved the concept of a major light rail tunnel under downtown Los Angeles to allow Expo and Blue line trains to connect to Gold Line tracks near Union Station.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said this week that the Federal Transit Administration gave a green light to the $1.37 billion "Regional Connector" project, a nearly-two mile set of tunnels from the 7th at Figueroa Streets station north and then east under Bunker Hill and the Civic Center area to Little Tokyo.

The federal action means the downtown tunnels have completed the environmental review process and can now go to the design and build phases. Federal aid is expected to fund much of the project. The Regional Connector will allow one-seat light rail service from Montclair and Pasadena to Long Beach, and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica, possibly within seven years.

Actual construction of the second phase of the Expo Line began this month, with the demolition of an old freight viaduct over Motor Avenue in Cheviot Hills, and the construction of parking lots along Colorado Boulevard in Santa Monica. The new passenger rail line will bisect Santa Monica on the southern side of Colorado Boulevard, and the new lots will replace lost on- street parking.

Metro and the Exposition Construction Authority officials said two meetings this month will include a short presentation, followed by an "open house" format listening session.

The open houses will be at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday at the Vista Del Mar Child And Family Service Gymnasium, 3200 Motor Ave., in Cheviot Hills, and eight days later, at 6:30 p.m. July 18 at the .

The Expo Line's second phase will extend two sets of tracks west from Robertson at Venice boulevards along MTA property that formerly hosted Southern Pacific steam and electric engines, and then diesel freight service until the late 1980s. Service has already begun on the first Expo phase, from downtown south to Exposition Park and then west to Culver City.

Dan Charney July 08, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Let's just keep building huge hotels, more upscale condos, business parks and load Santa Monica with one person after another until we are like Times Square. Please, send the rail line to Manhattan Beach- we don't need four million people coming here constantly in addition to how many we already have. This makes me sick
Gary Cook July 09, 2012 at 12:01 AM
I suppose the people of California have no problem getting the other 49 states to buy them a railroad, that they can live without. Everyone knows that California has no money and is on the verge of defaulting on all of its debt, but never mind that, government money is free, right?
Evan Lettinger July 09, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Metropolitan Transportation AUTHORITY, not "Agency"
Robert H H July 09, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Check your facts, Gary. California contributes far more money to the other states than vice versa. Most of it goes to subsidize states in the South and Midwest.

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