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Study of Underground Regional Connector Passes Metro Committee

By Eric Richardson
Published: Thursday, February 18, 2010, at 03:30PM
Regional Connector Render: 2nd Street Looking West Metro

An underground option for the proposed Regional Connector light rail link was approved for further study by Metro's Planning and Programming committee today, but project team members warned that savings would need to be found to keep the project within the original $700 - $900 million budget.

That could mean that the line ends up with one less station than was initially planned. The project currently has stops proposed at 5th and Flower, 2nd and Hope, 2nd and Broadway and 1st and Alameda. Project staff did not specify which stop they would consider cutting.

Metro staff said that the underground option could provide relief from operational issues built in to the other two options. Those issues include tight curves and traffic impacts.

The underground alignment's inclusion got unanimous support from a long list of public speakers that included staff from the offices of Councilmembers Jan Perry and Jose Huizar and from Little Tokyo stakeholders.

Assuming the full Metro board adopts the committee action, all three alternatives will now move forward in the project's Alternatives Analysis document. That should be published by summer, at which time the preferred option will be chosen by the Metro board.

The Regional Connector would link the two pieces of the existing light rail network, bridging the gap between the 7th / Metro terminus used by the Blue and Expo lines with the Gold Line's Little Tokyo / Arts District station.

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