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Orange Line extension running under budget

January 30, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
We're getting a look at the next Metro extension on the Orange Line running from Canoga Park to Chatsworth. It's not only under budget, it's going to free up millions for other transportation projects.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was the guide Monday, showing off the four-mile extension of the Metro Orange Line being constructed in the San Fernando Valley.

The $215-million extension came in under budget. It links Canoga Park to the Chatsworth Amtrak Metrolink station. It adds four new stations, two busway bridges and a list of other improvements to move more riders into mass transit.

The Orange Line extension is expected to help add another 9,000 boardings a day to the Rapid Transit line. The four-mile extension is scheduled to open in June.

It was supposed to use voter-approved Measure R money, but the state ended up footing the bill. Measure R is the half-cent sales tax overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2008.

"The money that was otherwise allocated for Measure R will go to another San Fernando Valley project. That's the great news today and the fact that it's under budget and on time," said Villaraigosa.

Villaraigosa didn't say what his preference is for how to spend the unexpected windfall in Measure R money.

The next big project is Van Nuys Boulevard from Sylmar down to Ventura Boulevard. The hope is to get people out of their cars and into mass transit.