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The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (Metro) board yesterday approved contracts to proceed with environmental work and community outreach for the proposed West Santa Ana Branch rail line, which would connect L.A.'s Union Station to Artesia, Calif.Parsons Brinckerhoff Inc. obtained contracts to complete the environmental clearance for the project, while Arrellano Associates LLC won a contract for community outreach, Metro officials said in a press release. The board also approved a funding agreement with the Gateway Cities Council of Governments to help the 13 cities along the 20-mile project corridor participate in the study. The effort will be led by the Eco-Rapid Transit Joint Powers Authority, which was created to study passenger-rail in the corridor.The project would use 8 miles of an abandoned rail corridor that Metro owns between Artesia and Paramount, Calif. The alignment then continues 12 miles north from Paramount to Union Station via local streets and private right-of-way.During the environmental clearance phase, various alignments will be studied between Union Station and a southern terminus in Artesia. The preferred route is subject to board approval. The West Santa Ana Branch rail project is one of 12 transit projects to receive funding from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. About $240 million in Measure R funds have been earmarked for the project.The entire project is estimated to cost $4 billion. Additional funding to build the line is included in Metro's Measure M ballot that voters will consider in November."Connecting southeast L.A. County to the regional transit system is an important part of Metro’s broad vision for better regional mobility," said Metro Chair John Fasana. "But this milestone is particularly good news for the Gateway Cities communities. If Measure M is approved, these communities will receive a new robust light rail line that will provide fast, frequent and reliable transit service they desperately require."A map shows recommended alignments for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor.(Click to view larger.)Source: L.A. Metro
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