Test drilling phase for Westside subway near complete

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Los Angeles County's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has spent the last two-and-a-half months drilling for soil samples in 70 locations. KPCC's Brian Watt says those tests are a key early phase of subway construction on L.A.'s Westside.

Brian Watt: Now that the drilling's about done, L.A. city, county, and transit officials want to make sure the subway line gets enough money to stay on track. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said the project will eventually reduce the worst traffic congestion in L.A. County.

Zev Yaroslavsky: It takes, oftentimes, an hour for people to go from the Pacific Coast to the 405 Freeway, or vice versa in the morning.

Watt: Yaroslavsky said the project deserves its fair share of the money from voter-approved Measure R. That would cover less than half the line's estimated $9 billion cost. L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city will be aggressive about pursuing federal dollars.

Antonio Villaraigosa: Realistically, if we had money from Measure R, and the money that we think we can leverage from the federal government, we could complete this project in 10 years.

Watt: Villaraigosa added that the new subway line would create as many as 16,000 construction jobs.