Update: West Santa Ana Branch now expected to cost upwards of $5 Billion
HyRail LA was at the update meeting about the West Santa Ana Branch Corridor yesterday in Bellflower. Metro has been moving swiftly on planning many of the coming rail lines in advance of the Olympics and so they have narrowed down the options for how this Light Rail line will connect and terminate in Downtown Los Angeles. All of the options being considered have an underground segment from Alameda around the I-10 and ending at either the Financial District's 8th/Flower or Pershing Square Stations, or at Union Station through Little Tokyo. This has led to a roughly $1 Billion increase pushing the cost to $5 Billion. This $1,000,000,000.00 increase is outside of what Metro currently has funding for. Much of the increase in cost is from citizens demanding the line be grade separated for most of its alignment. Little Tokyo has been under constant Metro Rail construction since around 2006 with the start of the Gold Line East Side ph. 1 and then the Regional Connecter. Many in this community have grown tired of the constant closures impacting their business and families and are also demanding this line be constructed underground.
Many of the public comments revolved around wanting the line to be grade separated, making sure the noise doesn't impact the community, and the effects of gentrification on the areas surrounding the stations. As it currently stands, almost 3/4 of this line is either elevated or underground, negating the benefits of Light Rail's low cost at grade benefits.
Seeing as how voters demands have shifted away from at grade light rail on major stretches, isn't it time we look at something else? Something that's made to be elevated so that we don't waste BILLIONS of dollars putting a heavy train meant to be on the ground, in the sky? HyRail LA is clear the demand for something like this. We are committed to bringing this out to the community as a way to have a fiscally responsible transit system that is fast and effective. Stay tuned for info on our official launch party!!!!!