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Metro gets federal ‘guarantee’ for key Purple Line funding

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The agency is still waiting on a full grant agreement for $1.3 billion

The third phase of Metro’s Purple Line will bring the subway to UCLA and the VA hospital.

Metro’s efforts to complete its long-anticipated Purple Line subway extension to the Westside got a significant boost Thursday, when the Federal Transit Administration gave the agency a key document required to move forward with the project’s final phase.

CEO Phil Washington announced at a committee meeting last week that federal officials had agreed to issue a letter of no prejudice for construction of stations, testing, and track work on the last 2.6 miles of the rail extension.

The contract for that work is worth $3.6 billion, and Metro has applied for $1.3 billion in federal funding. The letter is a sign that the FTA will approve that request.

Set to be fully complete in 2026, the project will add seven new stations to the existing Purple Line, bringing the subway from its current terminus in Koreatown all the way to the Veterans Affairs hospital just west of the 405.

Metro previously secured federal grant agreements totaling more than $2.3 billion for the first two phases of the extension. The agency applied more than a year ago for a federal grant for the project’s final phase, and its Board of Directors approved a contract for the project in February pending federal approval of that grant.

The commitment Metro received Thursday isn’t the funding agreement agency officials aimed to have in place by now, but Washington said Thursday that the letter would “guarantee—hopefully” that a finalized grant will follow.

Metro’s Board of Directors will vote next month on a revised contract for the Purple Line’s final phase, with the letter of no prejudice, rather than a full grant agreement, serving as assurance of federal funding for the project.