Shovels in hand and hard hats on, the nine member Expo board punctured the dirt commencing the construction of Phase 2 of the Expo Line. The groundbreaking of Phase 2 initiates construction for the portion of the Expo Line that will run from Culver City to Santa Monica and connect to Phase 1. In the next few months, Phase 1 will run from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City. Phase 2, scheduled to open in 2015, will run from Culver City to Santa Monica. Once completed, the 15.2 mile Expo line will give commuters the option of traveling from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica by rail and pass through 19 station stops, including ones at the University of Southern California, Exposition Park, the Mid-City Communities, the Crenshaw District, Culver City, and West Los Angeles; the line also will connect to the upcoming Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor. According to Expo staff, by 2030, approximately 64,000 passengers will ride the Expo Transit Line each day, making it one of the most heavily used light rail lines in the country. Aside from connecting communities on the Westside to downtown Los Angeles, the Expo Line is expected to shorten commutes, lower greenhouse gas emissions from cars, provide fast and reliable public transportation services and increase the number of commuters who use the public transportation in Los Angeles County.
Of its notable attributes, construction for Phase 2 of the Expo Line is the first transit project in recent memory with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and Construction Careers Policy, mandated by the Expo Board.[pullquote_right] “In short, this is an opportunity for taxpayers to benefit from their own tax dollars,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.[/pullquote_right]The Construction Careers Policy and the PLA ensure that at least 30% of total construction hours are from residents who live within five miles of Phases 1 and 2 of the project and within L.A. County zip codes where unemployment is high. In addition, this provision sets aside job opportunities for disadvantaged workers, such as those who are homeless, are high school drop-outs or who have criminal records.
“It is vitally important that our transportation developments dovetail with economic development as much as possible, and this transit project will not only improve the quality of life for thousands of commuters, it will also provide the community with much needed jobs,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “In short, this is an opportunity for taxpayers to benefit from their own tax dollars.”
In mid-March Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and City Councilman Herb Wesson championed the implementation of a Project Labor Agreement and Construction Careers Policy for Phase 2 of the Expo Line. The hiring provisions will serve to ensure local residents have access to the thousands of jobs created by the $1.5 billion Expo line rail project.