Wed, Jun

Sepulveda Pass Transit – How Long To Build It?


[This is the sixth article in a series examining whether Metro can be a trusted steward for the Sepulveda Pass Transit project.] 

LA TRANSPO - My fourth of 20 questions to Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins was: “Why has Metro never provided any information on construction time or schedule estimates for any of its STCP concepts at any public meeting from 2018 to today – and what are today’s construction time and schedule estimates for each alternative?”

Stephanie’s non-response was: “Metro has consistently stated in public meetings and FAQs that information about construction methods, impacts, mitigations, and timeframe are being developed as a part of the environmental review process.”

Metro never even tried to answer the critical “why” part of my question or provide the requested estimates. Metro has already spent more than $100 million studying this project. They have construction time estimates. There is no rational reason them to withhold this information from the public – except that it might sway public opinion about the various subway and monorail alternatives under study. The public can’t intelligently comment without knowing how long this project might take to build and which alternatives will take longer or shorter. Any trusted steward of this critical project would gladly tell us this information. Metro left us in the dark. They need to stop stalling and tell us now. What is Metro hiding and why?

Metro never presented construction times for any concept alternative at a public meeting over the last six years. Metro’s November 2019 Final Feasibility report never mentions construction times. Metro showed this pictorial schedule at its January 2023 public meeting, but it provides no useful information.

The Sepulveda Pass project is a voter-approved Measure M project. Measure M provides groundbreaking start dates and expected opening dates for each of its projects. The Sepulveda Pass project groundbreaking start date is 2024. The expected opening date is 2033. Where are we today?


Metro has already missed its 2024 groundbreaking start date. The Draft Environmental Report won’t be ready until at least late 2024. Metro’s Board then must decide which alternative to build. After that, the Final Environmental report must be completed, and further design studies conducted. All these will take at least two and a half years. With luck, groundbreaking might start in 2027 – a three-year slip from Measure M’s start date.

The Sepulveda Pass project is one of three Measure M projects with nine years from groundbreaking to opening. But this project has subway and monorail alternatives with vastly different construction times. Underground subways take much longer to build than above-ground monorails – as much as times longer. A subway will take at least the full nine years to construct – and probably a lot more. A monorail will take as few as four or five years to construct. The project could open between 2031 and 2040+ – the earlier dates for monorail. Public impressions of monorail versus subway might be very different if Metro had been honest about how long each takes to construct. Metro must be afraid honesty might bias the public. That’s not being a fair and transparent public servant. Give the public the facts and let them make unbiased decisions.

Here’s an idea for the Metro Board. Require Metro to publish a one- or two-page scorecard every six months showing Measure M groundbreaking and opening dates, current estimates for those dates, and current budgets and current cost estimates for every active Measure M project. Let’s start making Metro the transparent agency it’s supposed to be.

(Bob Anderson is a nuclear engineer with 50 years engineering and business development expertise in the aerospace and high-technology sectors. He is VP and Transportation Committee Chair of the Sherman Oaks Homeowners Association. Contact him at [email protected]. )


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