LA seeks to fast-track construction on massive transportation projects
- Due to the city's 2024 Olympic plans, Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials are seeking to accelerate construction on two massive transportation projects.
- The officials issued a formal request to become part of the Federal Transit Administration pilot program, which would allow them to fast-track construction on a $2.3 billion extension to the Purple Line subway and a $330 million train connection to Los Angeles International Airport.
- With the current plans, the Purple Line is set to be constructed in three phases, with the final one being completed in 2036. If the new plan is accepted, however, all three phases of the extension would be finished by 2024. Completion of the "People Mover" rail line to LAX would be moved up from 2028 to 2024.
Transportation officials said the accelerated construction of the projects would have major benefits for the Olympics — if the Games end up being held in the city. The Purple Line expansion would be able to transport thousands of visitors to the UCLA campus for certain events.
Metro Chief Executive Phillip Washington said that completing the two projects more rapidly would "reduce construction costs, reduce construction impacts to dense urban centers, and expedite transportation benefits to the region."
At the end of August, the U.S. Olympic Committee and Los Angeles officials reached an agreement to have the city be the official U.S. bidder for the 2024 Games. Boston, the initial U.S. city planning to bid for the Olympics, withdrew its bid due to concerns over costs.
Los Angeles will have to wait to find out if it beats Paris, Rome and other cities for the chance to hold the event, as the International Olympic Committee won't announce the official host city until 2017.
Hosting the Olympics can be a major boon for a city's infrastructure projects, according to the LA Times. After Salt Lake City won the 2002 Olympics bid, it accelerated construction on two light-rail lines to ensure they opened in time for the events.
Preparation for the Games, however, can also cause significant headaches for host cities. In early 2015, Brazil's Ministry for Labor shut down construction on two Olympic arenas due to worker safety concerns. In August, however, Rio's mayor said construction is now ahead of schedule for the 2016 event, and within budget.
And in July, the Japanese government announced plans to open an international competition for a new design for the 2020 Olympic stadium after scrapping its initial design due to ballooning costs.
- Los Angeles Times Eyeing L.A.'s Olympic bid, Metro seeks to accelerate two rail projects