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MTA unveils new timelines for transit projects

January 6, 2009 | 11:11 am

Want to step aboard the subway extension to the Westside? Looks like you may have to wait until 2019 -- and even then you'll only be able to travel as far west as La Cienega Boulevard, according to a new staff report from the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The staff published an intriguing report that details when they think they can build new transit projects over the next three decades. It's part of their effort to adopt a long-range plan. Go to Page 20 to see the projected opening dates for different transit and road projects.

A sampling:

Subway to La Cienega -- 2019

Subway to Century City -- 2026

Subway to Westwood -- 2032

Expo Line light rail phase II, Culver City to Santa Monica -- 2015

Gold Line light rail extension -- 2017

Wilshire Boulevard bus lane in city of Los Angeles -- 2015

Crenshaw Boulevard light rail or bus rapid transit -- 2029

Green Line to LAX -- 2016 to 2018

Westside to San Fernando Valley transit project along the 405 Freeway -- 2038

Regional Connector downtown light rail -- 2018

These are just agency recommendations and can be adopted, revised or junked by the MTA board. The big news here is that the Crenshaw project appears to have been pushed back and the subway looks to be a project that will take as long to complete as MTA Chief Executive Roger Snoble said last year. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has intimated on several occasions that it could be built faster.

As for the Crenshaw project, at this time last year, it was one of few projects that the MTA was prepared to fund and move forward on. Now the MTA staff has done something clever but somewhat misleading: They're calling the Green Line extension to LAX the first phase of that project, something they were not doing last year.

Why? Well, the bill that authorized Measure R to go to the ballot had to include special language committing to the Green Line-LAX project to satisfy state Sen. Jenny Oropeza, who was threatening to kill the bill. Others also have insisted that the extension to LAX be built quickly, and it was one of the few projects actually mentioned in the Measure R advertising.

It's likely that the MTA board will rake this report over the coals several times. And it will be mighty interesting to see if the dates for some projects change.

--Steve Hymon