Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa Vows To Build Sepulveda Pass Rail Link, Complete Wilshire Subway 13 Years Early
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wants to build a rail link over the Sepulveda Pass -- part of a proposed expansion of the city's transit network that would form a key part of his legacy.
The mayor is unveiling his plans in his annual State of the City speech. which is posted after the jump. The centerpiece of the speech is an indefinite extension of Measure R, the half-cent sales tax voters approved in 2008.
If voters approve the extension in November, Villaraigosa says the Sepulveda Pass rail line and the Wilshire subway could be complete "in a little over a decade."
Measure R is scheduled to sunset after 30 years. If the tax were extended indefinitely, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority could use the promise of additional revenues to obtain bond funding that would accelerate the Measure R construction schedule.
The mayor's office distributed a fact sheet which detailed the accelerated timetable. The Wilshire subway is currently scheduled for completion in 2036. Under the mayor's plan, the line could be done by 2023.
The Green Line extension to LAX could be completed 10 years ahead of schedule, in 2018. The South Bay extension of the Green Line would be sped up by 17 years, also being completed 2018.
The fact sheet also promises a "new project connecting west Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley by 2020."
Update: The existing Measure R plan does not specify whether the Sepulveda Pass project will be a rail line, a busway or something else. (The $1 billion allocated for the project under Measure R isn't scheduled to be spent until the 2030s, so by then maybe it'll be self-driving cars.)
In his speech, Mayor Villaraigosa seems to be making new policy by declaring that it will be a rail line.
We'll see if he sticks to that.
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