After decades of debate, Los Angeles has finally chosen a route for a subway to the Westside of town. But it appears the dream of a "Subway to the Sea" is dead.
The MTA board voted unanimously Thursday to go with a route that will go from historic Union Station downtown and run on Wilshire Blvd. It will end at the Veterans Hospital on the Westside.
The board considered a route that would extend the subway all the way to the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica, but ultimately decided it wasn't "cost effective" enough. The same goes for a spur through West Hollywood.
The estimated cost of this project is $4.36 billion. But that's in 2009 dollars. The price will surely go up depending on when construction starts, and how long it takes. Right now the MTA is looking at 2013 to break ground. When it's all said and done, the subway could wind up costing upwards of $9 billion.
Much of the money will come from a half-cent sales tax increase that voters approved in 2008. Without that money, the project could never be built.
"We’ve discussed the subway as I understand it for 50 years,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, also a member of the MTA board. “A lot has been said that this project will never happen. And now the only question is when.”
But don't run out and buy a subway token just yet, Angelenos. The new "westside" subway will open in three phases -- the first one in 2019, and the last one all the way in 2036. So Los Angeles residents will be clogging up their streets with cars for another 25 years or so. Or just in time for tele-transportation to be invented, rendering a subway completely pointless.