The second phase of construction of Metro's Expo Line, a 6.6-mile extension that will connect Culver City and Santa Monica, began today.
This portion of the line will reuse the right-of-way along Exposition Boulevard originally used by the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad / Santa Monica Air Line which was closed in 1953. When completed, it will be the first passenger rail line to serve the Los Angeles' Westside cities since the abandonment of the Pacific Electric Railway.
This $1.5 billion project is funded by Measure R, an initiative that was approved in November 2008 by a two-thirds majority. Measure R commits a projected $40 billion to traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years.
The first phase of the Expo Line has been underway since September 2006 and is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011. Phase 2, which started today, is expected to be completed in 2015.
An estimated 64,000 passengers could ride the Expo Line each day by 2030. If that happens, it will be one of the most heavily used light rail lines in the country.
Elise Hennigan is a graduate student at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, which has partnered with KCET-TV to produce this blog about policy in Los Angeles.