Metro holds public meeting on progress of Westside subway extension

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Los Angeles County Metro officials briefed people who work in the Miracle Mile area on the status of its proposed Westside subway extension today.

Erika Esau, a librarian at the L.A. County Museum of Art, attended the meeting. She commutes to the museum daily on Metro from Pasadena.

"That last leg from Western and Wilshire where we have to take the bus, it’s just impossible. And it would make it so much easier if we had the connection all the way to Fairfax at least. So I’m astonished that they’re actually making some progress."

Metro staff is drafting environmental impact studies they’ll need to qualify the subway project for federal transportation money. If all goes well, construction could begin in a year and a half. The proposed subway extension would run from Wilshire Boulevard and Western Avenue to UCLA, and possibly beyond.

L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas announced he will host a community forum Friday to solicit ideas for new funding criteria for rail systems. He said that the Federal Transportation Agency’s (FTA) criteria for prioritizing federal funding leaves the county at a disadvantage.

"The Los Angeles region has lagged far behind other jurisdictions, due in part to the FTA’s historical focus on cost-effectiveness and a lack of alternative measures for prioritizing federal investments,” Ridely-Thomas said.

The FTA is reviewing its funding criteria for public rail transit projects, by considering economic and environmental criteria, as well as cost-effectiveness in its transportation funding decisions.

The meeting will be held at the Wallis Annenberg Building at the California Science Center, 700 Exposition Park Drive. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m.