Metro's Purple Line May Finish Construction A Whole Decade Ahead Of Schedule

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(Photo by Gary Kavanagh via the LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)

2035. Who can even imagine what the world will be like then. Will I be alive, still? Will the Earth be flooded, or the air still breathable? Will we all be living on Mars? Whatever the world of 2035 will be like, L.A. had set that year to finish construction of the Purple Line extension: a nine-mile project extending the Metro's Purple Line subway from its current Wilshire/Western terminus out to the West L.A. Veteran Affairs Hospital.

But wait.

In November, Los Angeles County voters passed Measure M—a half-cent sales tax increase that will generate some $860 million in annual revenue for new public transportation projects. Now, the fruit of this passage is coming to bear. On Friday, Metro announced that Section 3 of the extension (Century City/Constellation to Westwood/VA Hospital) will begin construction in 2018, with a planned completion of 2024.

2024? You mean, only six-and-a-half years from now? Color me impressed.

Los Angeles is using the Purple Line's completion as a selling point for its Olympic bid. According to the L.A. 2024 bid book, the Purple Line will help ease traffic and accessibility for the games, and will promote a shift in Angelenos' behavior towards public transit.

The Olympic and Paralympic Games offer an incredible opportunity to shift the perception of LA’s public transport for visitors and residents alike.
LA 2024 is working closely with LA transit authorities to accelerate the Metro Purple Line extension to Westwood and the Automated People Mover at LAX. This acceleration and promotion of public transit through the Games will dramatically impact the accessibility and productivity of public transit options for visitors landing at LAX, residents traveling to and from the airport, and daily commuters in need of public transit options across the City.

But there is a catch: the plan's acceleration is also dependent on federal money. According to the Daily Bruin, the federal matching funds "still need to be allocated and approved every year as part of Congress’s budget." No small feat in today's political climate.

“For those of us who have driven this part of Los Angeles, it can take 20 minutes to go three blocks,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said in January during an announcement of the Extension's construction plans, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. “Now, when this is done, it will be 20 minutes to downtown Los Angeles.”

Who knows about 2035, but 2024 is starting to sound like a magical place.