New Price Tag for L.A's Biggest Rail Dream: $13 Billion

The Sepulveda Transit Corridor could offer tens of thousands of Los Angeles commuters an alternative to the infamously congested I-405 freeway, if local officials can find the funding.

2 minute read

July 24, 2019, 10:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Westside Los Angeles

Sepulveda Pass and the I-405 freeway, looking toward the Westside of Los Angeles. | Sundry Photography / Shutterstock

"Building a transit line through the Sepulveda Pass, one of the worst traffic bottlenecks in Southern California, could cost more than $13 billion, a figure significantly higher than previous estimates," reports Laura Nelson.

That leaves the project with a potential funding gap of $8 billion, according to the new cost estimate released by Los Angeles County officials this week. "The project has about $5.7 billion earmarked from Measure M, the sales tax increase that county voters approved in 2016," according to Nelson. Federal and state funds will be necessary to fill the funding gap.  

"The cost estimate for the project was far lower when Metro officials compiled a funding list for Measure M in 2015," notes Nelson. Another figure that has changed in reports on the project: the amount of funding Metro has to spend on the project. Writing for Metro in January 2019 to announce refined plans for the project, Steve Hymon said the transportation agency had $10 billion to spend on the project.

For more, timely information on Measure M, see also an Eno Center for Transportation report published this week on the lessons of the Measure M campaign that convinced a supermajority of voters to approve the funding measure.

Nelson provides a lot more details on the numerous alternatives still in play for the project, including routing alternatives and funding and operations proposals that include partnering with the private sector to build, operate, and maintain the project. There is also a monorail in play.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019 in Los Angeles Times

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