- Los Angeles County Metro officials broke ground Saturday on the $1.5 billion, 12.3-mile Foothill Gold line light rail extension, according to SF Gate.
- The new commuter line will run from eastern Los Angeles County to western San Bernardino County and will include six new stations. This is the first major Measure M-funded project to break ground, according to NBC Los Angeles, but another financing mechanism will pay for the portion of the rail that extends into San Bernardino County.
- Earlier this month, the Foothill Gold Line Authority announced that construction of the new extension will create almost 17,000 jobs, $2.6 billion in economic output and approximately $40 million in tax revenue for Los Angeles County. Once the line is functional, it will create 277 permanent jobs and add about $800,000 in tax revenue.
Transportation revitalization has been a significant issue for Los Angeles County in recent years, particularly as the need to ease traffic congestion and expand mass transit has grown in tandem with the area's population. To kickstart such efforts, Los Angeles County officials introduced a one-half-cent regional sales tax — dubbed Measure M — that voters overwhelmingly approved in November 2016. That initiative will drive an expected $860 million in revenue annually.
Certain projects under the Measure M initiative will see an accelerated construction schedule in the coming years as Los Angeles prepares to host the 2028 Olympic Games. Eight projects, according to the Pasadena Star-News, will be accelerated to meet the 2028 deadline, including the Gold Line extension.
Relieving traffic congestion around the city and preparing its transit system for an onslaught of visitors and media has been something Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has discussed since the city made its bid for the Summer Games. To bolster such efforts, Garcetti recently announced a "28 by 28" initiative that seeks to complete 28 regional transit projects before the Summer Olympics.
One of the projects on the mayor's list is the three-phase Purple Line rail extension. The $2.64 billion first phase is nearing completion, and work on the $2.38 billion is scheduled to begin soon after. According to the LA Metro's latest projections, the project, originally slated for completion in 2035, will be completed by 2026, the Star-News reported.