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Metro's Regional Connector able to move into final design stage

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, July 03, 2012, at 02:32PM
via Metro website

A previous rendering for the new Regional Connector project.

Metro's Regional Connector received a major stamp of approval this week, clearing the way for the light-rail project to move forward into final design stages. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) gave the project a Record of Decision -- certifying that the $1.37 billion L.A. metro extension meets all federal environmental guidelines.

"The Regional Connector is the vital link connecting the county’s regional transportation network by uniting the Gold Line, the Blue Line and the Expo Line -- allowing for future one-seat trips between the San Gabriel Valley, Long Beach and the Westside,” said L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board Chair Michael D. Antonovich, in a statement.

The Connector is considered "one of the region’s most significant transit projects," says Metro, and will include three new light rail stations in downtown L.A: One at 1st Street and Central Avenue, another at 2nd Street and Broadway, and a third at 2nd and Hope streets.

The project is partially funded by $160 million in Measure R sales tax money, and after this approval by the FTA, Metro can work on securing additional funding through a possible federal grant.

Community meetings are scheduled for August to discuss future design plans, and construction of the new stations and connecting tunnel is estimated to begin next summer.

The first official public meetings to discuss plans for the Connector began in 2007. If funding is secured for the project, it could be completed as early as 2019, according to Metro.

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