HOLLYWOOD -- Speaking at the Urban Land Institute's Transit Oriented Development Summit, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California) announced that the Federal Transit Administration had admitted the entire 9.3-mile stretch of Los Angeles Metro's proposed "Subway to the Sea" for preliminary engineering studies. Boxer said that the admission of the entirely bodes well for Metro's innovative "30-10" financing plan, which promises to remake the face of transit in Los Angeles within a decade.

Nearly three decades after Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Los Angeles) sponsored legislation that banned federal funding for further tunneling in Los Angeles -- purportedly to appease haughty Hancock Park residents worried that undesirables would invade their neighborhood via subway tunnels -- the announcement is a resounding show of support for the subway extension and marks a major step towards its realization. Los Angeles Metro had expected that DOT would admit the extension for study in segments. Boxer said that the admission of the entire line – and the attendant implication that the feds are ready to chip in for it – "is as close to a miracle as it gets" in federal transportation politics, Boxer said. 

The extension – officially called the Purple Line – will extend from the subway's current terminus at Western and Wilshire and extend through mid-Wilshire, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Westwood. It has been included in Metro's Long-Range Transportation Plan and is partially funded by 2009's Measure R. The remainder would rely on federal loans to front the $30 billion that Measure R is expected to raise, which would allow the construction of the entire extension.

The engineering studies admission marks "a significant first step" towards realizing the 30-10 plan, according to Michael Turner, Metro's government relations manager for state affairs. 

While this development is momentous for Los Angeles, it bodes well for other projects in California. Today's conference was a love-fest, full of anxious developers looking for a glimmer of a deal and public officials desperate to compete for scarce funding. Further coverage to come on the CP&DR blog. 

All aboard!