Press "Enter" to skip to content

Metro Board certifies final environmental review for E Line Extension

Source: Janice Hahn

Layla Hernandez

Less than one month after the Metro board approved the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the Southeast Gateway Line, the board again unanimously greenlit EIR certification for a nine-mile project, extending the Metro E line from East Los Angeles to Whittier. 

Construction on the extension’s initial segment is scheduled to begin in 2029, starting at Atlantic Station in East Los Angeles and ending at the future Greenwood Station in Montebello. The line will eventually end at Lambert Station in Whittier, with completion of construction of the entire line expected by 2035.

The E Line currently runs from Santa Monica to East LA. This extension pushes the line east to West Whittier. The project will include six new stations serving Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, Whittier, and unincorporated East Los Angeles and West Whittier-Los Nietos.

The project is currently short around $5 billion in funding, with $3.4 billion already secured and an estimated $7.9 billion in total costs. Metro is anticipating the remainder will be secured in local, state, and federal funding by 2029. 

Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro board vice chair Janice Hahn, who represents multiple cities along the line, praised the board’s May 23 vote to certify. Hahn emphasized the extension’s potential to reduce travel times for thousands of daily commuters.

“People are already commuting every day between the Westside and Downtown LA and the eastern communities I represent like Commerce, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs, and Whittier,” Hahn said in a press release. 

“But what they haven’t had is a fast, affordable single-seat ride to get where they’re going. With the Board’s support for this project today we are on the path to making the Eastside Extension to Whittier a reality and transforming how so many people in these communities move,” she said.

Aside from the C Line, which largely travels along the 105 freeway, there are currently no light rail projects in the eastern/southeast region of Los Angeles County. Metro anticipates this project, along with the planned Southeast Gateway Line, will serve commuters in some of the most highly traveled corridors in California. 

According to Metro staff, the approximated 33 square mile area surrounding the project is home to 722,000 residents and 274,000 employees.

Whittier Councilmember and second Metro board vice chair Fernando Dutra touted the project’s economic benefits. 

“If you think in terms of (transit-oriented development) opportunities, this alignment connects them all; shopping, assisting communities, work,” Dutra said at the meeting.

Within the initial segment of the extension, two of the three proposed stations will operate below ground. One below ground station at Atlantic Boulevard and Pomona Boulevard will sit less than one mile from the new Montebello Top Golf location. Underground rail service will continue into Commerce, connecting the Citadel Outlet Mall, which receives an estimated 20 million visitors annually, and the Commerce Casino to light rail.

Other popular destinations nearby the Washington Boulevard segment of the line include the Pico Rivera Towne Center, the San Gabriel Coastal Spreading Grounds trailhead, Pioneer High School, Whittier Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, and The Groves Whittier. 

Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro board member Hilda L. Solis also touted the economic benefits of the project, as well as pointing to the fact that this part of the county includes low-income and transit-dependent communities. 

“Extending the E Line from East LA to Whittier will offer access to jobs — including the creation of as many as 16,000 good-paying union jobs in construction — educational opportunities, and housing which will deliver economic benefits to many of our most vulnerable residents,” Solis said. 

Approximately 120,000 people living within 0.5 miles of the stations are identified as disadvantaged or low-income.