By City News Service
Local and federal officials will break ground Tuesday for a light rail line that will connect the Expo and Green lines, crossing Leimert Park, Baldwin Hills and Inglewood.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors last June approved a nearly $1.3 billion contract for construction of the 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX rail line. The board also approved a $160 million contingency fund for the project, for a total budget of nearly $2.06 billion, according to Metro.
The project is one of 12 funded by Measure R, the half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008.
The line will stretch from the Expo Line station at Crenshaw Boulevard and travel south, eventually connecting with the Metro Green Line's Aviation/LAX station. Construction is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Among those expected to attend the groundbreaking ceremony are Mayor Eric Garcetti, County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Sen. Barbara Boxer, D- Calif., U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, Rep. Karen Bass, D-Los Angeles, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D- Los Angeles.
"This has been a decades-long, monumental effort by an array of elected officials, community advocates and Metro staff," county Supervisor and Metro board member Ridley-Thomas said when the board approved the project last year. "We did this together and now we are poised to begin construction on a dream that will help millions."
He noted that the line would would include sites such as Hollywood Park, the Forum, Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza and Leimert Park.
About an hour before the ceremony, a group known as the Crenshaw Subway Coalition will hold a news conference to criticize the project for being built at street-level instead of underground -- a design "that will devastate the last black business corridor."