Construction began Tuesday morning on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, an 8.5-mile, $2.058-billion light-rail line that will run between the Metro Expo and Green lines and is expected to open in 2019. The project will also bring Metro Rail closer to Los Angeles International Airport.
The groundbreaking bought together top officials from federal, state and local government, including U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and California Sen. Barbara Boxer.
The event was held at the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards, where the first of the project’s three underground stations will be built. Demolition of some existing structures will be among the first work done, with heavy construction expected to begin this spring.
“Thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw depend on public transportation every day to get to work, to school, and to obtain medical care,” said Foxx. “Bringing light rail to this community will create jobs, spur local economic development and make it easier than ever for residents to access downtown Los Angeles and beyond.”
The new Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project will be the first rail line to serve Crenshaw Boulevard and the city of Inglewood since the streetcars of the Los Angeles Rail Line (known as the “Yellow Cars”) stopped running in 1955. In some places, the new light rail line will use the old alignment for the streetcars.
“The Crenshaw Line is a top priority for me because it will provide a crucial transportation link, create over 18,000 jobs, help connect communities, reduce air pollution, and provide economic development and economic opportunities,” said Boxer, who is chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The new light-rail line will serve the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and the area around Los Angeles International Airport with eight stations, a maintenance facility and park-and-ride lots.
“Los Angeles Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project is about making a long-term investment in South Los Angeles’ infrastructure that will benefit Angelinos for generations to come,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass. “This project is about generating over 18,000 jobs over the next six years for the Southern California economy as we work to climb out of the Great Recession. This project is about providing real work now to people who need it, with over half of the current jobs being filled by economically disadvantaged workers, and many of these jobs are currently being filled by African American workers. And this project is about time. For years we have promised a real change that will ease congestion on L.A.’s streets and put real dollars into South Los Angeles that allow people who live, work and play here a real choice to get around our great city, and the Crenshaw/LAX Project puts shovels where our rhetoric had been.”
"A world class Los Angeles needs a world class transit system that reduces traffic and connects our neighborhoods," said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti. "The Crenshaw/LAX Corridor light rail will be a vital link in our regional transportation network and will serve thousands of residents in Crenshaw, Inglewood and Westchester and people traveling to and from LAX."