LA Metro Board Advances Slauson Station Segment – Los Angeles

Thursday saw the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors approve a 14.8-mile segment of light rail that would connect South Gate communities with Slauson Station or eventually Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles.

The Board voted in favor of moving forward the first phase in the West Santa Ana Branch Project segment. This will connect Pioneer Station at Pioneer Boulevard in Artesia to Slauson Station, which is located in the Florence vicinity near South Los Angeles. Slauson Station would be connected to Union Station in the second phase.

Supervisor Janice Hahn who is also a member of Los Angeles Board of Directors stated, “This is really a significant moment for the West Santa Ana Branch which will someday deliver high-quality Transit to our southeast L.A., and our gateway cities,”

Metro staff stated that the timeline for the first phase is to have the Final Environmental Impact Report certified by Metro in winter 2022 and construction begin in 2023. The segment will be completed in 2033-2035. It could take several decades for the final segment to be completed from Slauson Station, Union Station, and it will open.

“We’ve been discussing this for close to 30 years. Hahn said that our community shouldn’t have 30 more years to finally receive the transit line we promised.

Hahn submitted a motion Thursday that was also approved by the Board. This motion aims to ensure that the project isn’t declared complete until it provides a single-seat ride linking Artesia and Union Station. Metro is also urged to accelerate construction and provide funding for the project.

Hahn stated, “I want you to remember that this one-seat ride does not constitute the entire project.

Her motion also asked Metro staff to include in their study the Slauson Station to-Union Station segment, a plan to include Little Tokyo station. This was supported by many members of the community.

The planned route would take the line through Artesia (Cerritos), Bellflower, Paramount and Downey as per plan.

Representatives from various communities and elected officials called in to the meeting to support the line, as well to call for it to be accelerated.

Maria Davila, South Gate Councilmember and Eco-Rapid Transit Boardmember, stated that “a lot of our residents depend upon the bus. This project is necessary to provide them another way to get there and back to their families.”

Blanca Pacheco of Downey, Mayor, said that the light rail would provide residents in Los Angeles County with increased access to health care and education as well as cultural destinations. This project has been in the works for over 30 years. We need to complete it from Artesia up to downtown LA.

The $8 billion project is partially funded by local sales tax revenue. Metro Board members stated that they would seek federal funding through the Bipartisan infrastructure Law and President Joe Biden’s Justice40 Initiative.

Before the vote, Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Whittier) spoke to the Metro Board of Directors to state that the project is well positioned for strong federal funding. “It really is an issue of environment justice that residents of Gateway can finally reap the benefits of affordable and clean light rail.

Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Supervisor and Chair of Metro Board of Directors, stated that it would be the first real rail line for the communities of Southeast Los Angeles County.

It is a chance to create more jobs, more housing, and less pollution in the region,” she stated.

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