June 11: This Date in Los Angeles Transportation History

 UMTA Grant

1980:  Preliminary engineering on Los Angeles’ Metro Rail Project begins with The Urban Mass Transit Administration awards a $12 million grant to the Southern California Rapid Transit District to begin preliminary engineering of the Wilshire Subway.

When combined with previously awarded state and local matching funds, the federal grant forms a financing package of nearly $16 million to cover first-year design and engineering  for a proposed rail rapid transit starter line stretching from Los Angeles Union Station to North Hollywood.

The federal funds are supplemented by $2.9 million from the California Transportation Commission and $1 million from the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission.

UMTA head Ted Lutz cautions that the grant is not a guarantee that additional federal funding will be forthcoming.

At a press conference held to announce the award, Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley proclaims:  “This is a golden day in Los Angeles history.   Our long-held dream of rail rapid transit is beginning to come true…This grant opens the door.”

The proposed route is 18.6 miles long and consists of 17 stations, with construction scheduled to begin in 1983 and completion slated for 1989 or 1990.

More information about the route, environmental impact report, planning and labor can be found the July, 1980 issue of Headway, the Southern California Rapid Transit District employee newsmagazine.