A vote taken last week by the Metro Board of Directors approved a nearly $900 million budget for the long-awaited rail link to LAX, setting the stage for work to begin for the new light rail station in coming months.

The 96th Street Station Metro Bike hubGrimshaw Architects

The Airport Metro Connector, planned for a 9.5-acre site at the intersection of Aviation Boulevard and 96th Streets, will connect Metro's Crenshaw/LAX and Green (C) Lines with the airport's new automated people mover system.  Additionally, the project will include:

  • a 16-bay bus plaza with capacity for charging infrastructure;
  • a multi-level active transportation and bike hub;
  • a vehicle drop-off zone;
  • a customer service center;
  • public toilet facilities beyond the fare paid zone;
  • commercial space; and
  • a sculpture by Los Angeles artist Glenn Kaino, which will be incorporated into the station's hub structure.

Bird's eye view of 96th Street stationGrimshaw Architects

According to a staff report, early site work for the Airport Metro Connector station is expected to begin in May.  A full construction contract is scheduled to be awarded in Summer 2021, allowing for the station to officially break ground in the Fall.

That schedule will almost certainly overlap with the expected launch of the Crenshaw/LAX Line, interrupting service for a period of approximately 20 months.  However, Metro would maintain access to a neighboring rail maintenance and storage facility during the construction period.

The anticipated budget of the Airport Metro Connector station, at nearly $900 million, represents a more than $260-million increase from a previous estimate of $637 million.  As Metro has secured just over $711 million in funding for the project, staff has recommended using $187 million in Proposition A and C funds to close the budget gap.

View of the planned light rail platformsGrimshaw Architects

The service interruption is another setback for the Crenshaw/LAX Line, which has been repeatedly delayed as construction has ground to a halt.  The 8.5-mile light rail line, which was originally expected to open in 2019, could see another two-year service interruption when construction begins for a planned grade separation project at Centinela Avenue in Inglewood.