The L.A. Metro 'Megaproject' Connecting Downtown and Southeast L.A. County

October 2, 2017, 10am PDT by Elana Eden
The West Santa Ana Branch light rail would offer new infrastructure and economic activity to a transit-dependent part of the county.

Named for an old Pacific Electric line, the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor would take one of four possible routes spanning about 20 miles from Artesia to Downtown L.A.'s Union Station. With a projected ridership of at least 80,000, it would be one of the busiest light rail lines in the country.

Twelve cities, plus the Hollywood-Burbank Airport, are managing the project through a JPA called Eco-Rapid Transit, headed by transportation planner Michael Kodama. In The Planning Report, Kodama explains the JPA's holistic view of the rail line as a mechanism to bolster economic development and connectivity along the length of the corridor, noting the opportunity to fill other infrastructure gaps in the project area.

"This project serves an area of Los Angeles County that is, frankly, underserved," he says. "It goes through the industrial and manufacturing heart of the county, where a lot of folks don’t have high incomes and have big transit needs."

Metro's Office of Extraordinary Innovation recently greenlit an unsolicited proposal for a public-private partnership that could condense the entire project into one phase. It would be the first P3 of its kind in L.A., Kodama says. He speaks more about funding, equity, and the economic impacts of the project in TPR.

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Published on Thursday, September 21, 2017 in The Planning Report