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Under a new arrangement announced by WEHOville, the proposed northern extension of Metro's Crenshaw/LAX Line could begin construction earlier than currently planned.

In a letter to West Hollywood City Councilmember Lindsey Horvath, Metro CEO Phil Washington provided insight on the agency's effort to bring the planned light rail extension to "shovel ready," condition, in the event that Los Angeles County voters approve the transportation ballot initiative Measure M.  These steps include the completion of a feasibility study for the northern extension by June 2017 and an environmental impact report on the preferred route in 2018.

Following the completion of the study, the proposed extension would be "well-positioned to receive additional funding for construction," by the year 2020.  That potential start date is more than two decades ahead of what is detailed in the Measure M expenditure plan, which calls for construction of the project to occur between 2041 and 2047.  Possible sources of additional funds include local tax measures, state and federal grants or financing and public-private partnership.

Though an exact route for the northern extension has not been determined, past studies have explored a line which would travel north from the phase one terminus at Expo/Crenshaw Station through Mid City to an eventual terminus at Hollywood/Highland Station.  Although past cost estimates have been based on a route along La Brea Avenue, West Hollywood officials have aggressively pushed for an alignment along Santa Monica Boulevard, the city's primary commercial thoroughfare.  Other possible routes include Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard.

Proposed alignment advocated by West Hollywood (Image: WHAM Rail)

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