More delays plague Expo Line
The first rail system to the Westside in decades will open later than planned and cover a shorter route.
This summer was supposed to see a milestone in L.A. transit.
The Expo Line, billed as the L.A.’s first rail system into the Westside since the Red Car trolleys disappeared decades ago, was supposed to be whisking commuters between Culver City and downtown Los Angeles.
But instead, a series of delays has pushed the opening of the first phase of the rail line to next summer. And even then, only part of the line will be open and trains won’t reach the Westside.
Officials are trying to decide how long that segment will be, and they face what they admit are two unsatisfactory options: opening Expo as an approximately 51⁄ 2-mile line from downtown to Crenshaw Boulevard, or having it run about two miles farther west to La Cienega Boulevard.
Planners said neither alternative is ideal because neither gets commuters to the line’s original terminus in Culver City, home to entertainment firms and an increasingly hip dining and gallery scene. Instead, at best, the line will initially fall about a mile short of that goal.
It’s the latest setback for Phase 1 of the Expo Line, which has faced several delays is now projected to cost $900 million. Originally, the price tag was $640 million, but costs have risen because of design changes, surging construction expenses and safety enhancements.
“Most of the projects we’ve built in recent times have been on time and under budget, and this has been a different experience for all of us,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who sits on the Expo Line Construction Authority
Officials now expect the rail line to open next summer and to extend by then only to Crenshaw Boulevard or to La Cienega Boulevard.