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Construction crews ready to begin work on Crenshaw Line

6/3/2012, 5 p.m.

SOUTH LOS ANGELES, Calif.--Construction crews today began relocating water and power lines in parts of South Los Angeles to clear the way for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to begin construction of the 8.5-mile Crenshaw light rail line.

The $1.72 billion project will run between the Expo Line on Exposition Boulevard and the Metro Green Line near Los Angeles International Airport, with six stops serving the Crenshaw Corridor, Inglewood, Westchester and parts of LAX.

The contract for utility work is Metro's first under a new project labor agreement with the Los Angeles Orange County Building Trades that requires the agency's contractors to hire union workers, with 30 percent coming from zip codes with high unemployment rates. Ten percent of workers must be chronically underemployed or have other disadvantages.

"The Crenshaw/LAX light rail line will provide a vital transportation link for this community and our entire city," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who chairs the Metro board. "By utilizing Metro's project labor agreement program for this project, we are getting Angelenos back to work and creating job opportunities for those who need them the most."

The $8.6 million utility work will take place at 10 locations along the Crenshaw corridor and is expected to take one year to complete.

The Federal Transit Administration gave final approval for the Crenshaw Line in January. However, it is still unclear whether the line will include an underground stop at Leimert Park Village, an economic and cultural hub of the black community in South Los Angeles.

At a contentious meeting last year, the MTA board declined to require the station, citing a lack of funding. Instead, the board voted to favor awarding the project's construction to a contractor who offers to include the station at the approved total project price tag of $1.72 billion.