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Southeast Gateway Line (former West Santa Ana Branch)

Hello ‘Southeast Gateway Line’ and Farewell ‘West Santa Ana Branch’

Metro's future 19-mile Southeast Gateway Line will serve southeast L.A. County cities of Artesia, Bell, Bellflower, Cerritos, Cudahy, Downey, Florence-Firestone, Huntington Park, L.A., Paramount, South Gate, and Vernon

The Southeast Gateway Line is the new name for the Metro West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor project. Screengrab via Facebook

This morning Metro leadership announced the "Southeast Gateway Line" has been selected for Metro's planned 19-mile rail line project that will serve Artesia, Bell, Bellflower, Cerritos, Cudahy, Downey, Florence-Firestone, Huntington Park, L.A., Paramount, South Gate, and Vernon.

Metro will use the new Southeast Gateway title for the project until it opens to the public, when a line letter will go into effect.

Metro map of the full planned 19-mile Southeast Gateway Line - formerly the West Santa Ana Branch
Metro's planned initial South Gateway Line segment will extend 15 miles from Artesia to the Metro A Line Slauson Station. Image via 2022 Metro presentation

In 2022, Metro decided to proceed initially with a lower 9-station segment extending from the Slauson A Line Station to the city of Artesia. The remaining northern leg, from Slauson to downtown L.A. would be a built as a later phase.

That initial $5 billion 15-mile segment has proved difficult to fully fund. Metro already has about $2 billion already, including Measure M and R sales tax revenue and state grant money. For the rest of the initial segment budget, Metro is seeking Federal Transit Administration New Starts monies.

The Southeast Gateway project was formerly known as the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor (WSAB), which is from the historic name of Pacific Electric rail that ran there.

Metro leaders expressed frustration that that historic name has been confusing, as the future line is not in the western part of L.A. County, nor would the 19-mile line envisioned connect to Santa Ana, a city about 15 miles away in Orange County.

County Supervisor Janice Hahn at this morning's "Name that Train" announcement event - screengrab via Facebook Live

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn noted that 4,500 people had voted in Metro's renaming process, which was "more exciting than the Iowa caucuses."

The Southeast Gateway rail line will serve the Southeast Cities located in southeast part of L.A. County, a sub-region named the Gateway Cities. Though that Gateway Cities name has been in use for decades (especially for the area's administrative bodies, including the Gateway Cities Council of Governments), it isn't quite common usage among the general population.

The new name should give the project a clear identity as the area's leadership works to finalize plans and secure remaining funds.

From Metro December 2023 presentation, Southeast Gateway Line project status

In calendar year 2024, Metro anticipates releasing and certifying the project's final environmental studies, securing an FTA Record of Decision, and awarding early design and support contracts. Remaining right-of-way acquisition (some station and yard sites) could get underway this year.

If all goes well (extrapolating from Metro's January 2022 draft timeline), a Southeast Gateway Line groundbreaking might take place 2025-26, with the line opening to the public around 2034-2036.

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