L.A. Is Finally Getting a Transit System to Rival New York’s

Here comes an alternative to the 405

It’s been a rough week for many Angelenos, who voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton only to see her lose the electoral college and, in effect, the election to Donald Trump. There were bright spots, including the legalization of marijuana, the expansion of park-space, and the election of whip-smart Kamala Harris as senator. But maybe the best news was the passage of Measure M, which will remake the city.

The half-cent tax increase required approval by three-quarters of the electorate and was supported by nearly 70 percent of voters. Metro will now have $120 billion to build new rail lines, busways, bike paths, and new roads. Measure M builds on the momentum of 2008’s Measure R, which made possible the Expo Line to Santa Monica, the Gold Line to Azusa, and the forthcoming Crenshaw Line, Regional Connector, and Purple Line extension.

So, what are we getting, and when? Well, Measure M doesn’t kick in officially until next year. But it will allow certain projects to be accelerated, like the Purple Line extension, which could open to Westwood in 2024, instead of just to Miracle Mile.

The money will also go to building a new station on the under-construction Crenshaw Line, which will hook up with an LAX People Mover in the early 2020s. An eastern extension of the Gold Line to Claremont could break ground around 2018. Studies have already been done on stretching the Green Line to the South Bay Galleria and Torrance. Planning for a rail connection between the Valley and Westwood via the Sepulveda Pass will commence soon and start construction in the next decade. Metro is also going full-steam ahead on a light rail line from Union Station to Artesia, as well as a transit line on Van Nuys Boulevard. Projects later in Measure M’s timeline include a Crenshaw Line extension to West Hollywood, connecting the Green Line to the Norwalk Metrolink station, and busways—or possibly rail lines—between LAX and Santa Monica and along Vermont Avenue. The Orange Line busway could also get converted to rail. See a video explanation on the future projects below.

The timing for Measure M is especially fortuitous, considering Republicans now control the presidency and Congress; federal money for transit is likely to dry up once they all assume office next year.