Car-centric Los Angeles will see even more transit-related construction over the next 12 months under a record $6.6-billion budget approved on May 24 by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The 2018-19 spending plan, which begins July 1, calls for nearly $2 billion in construction, with the majority directed to rail and transit expansions.

Topping the list at more than $980 million is the nine-mile, seven-station Westside Subway extension of the Purple Line. A design-build joint venture led by Skanska USA Civil, Traylor Bros. Inc. and J.F. Shea Co. is expected to begin tunneling beneath Wilshire Boulevard for the project's 3.92-mile, $1.6-billion first section in the coming weeks, with a scheduled 2023 completion date.

The 2.59-mile, $1.37-billion second phase, to be led by a joint venture of Tutor Perini and O&G Industries, is in preconstruction. Metro's plans currently call for the 2.59-mile third section to Westwood and UCLA to begin in 2019, although full funding has yet to be secured.

Skanska and Traylor are also leading the $1.7-billion Regional Connector, which will link three existing light-rail lines with a pair of 1.9-mile downtown tunnels. That project is set for completion in late 2021.

The agency's third major transit effort for the next fiscal year is the $2.1-billion, 8.5-mile extension of the Green light-rail line to Los Angeles International Airport from Crenshaw and Exposition Boulevards. That project is led by a team comprised of Walsh Construction, J.F. Shea, HNTB, Comstock Co. and Arup.

Metro has also allocated $493 million for major upgrade and repair projects, including an eight-month overhaul of the nearly 30-year-old Blue Line light-rail system, set for 2019. The agency will continue planning work for implementing bus rapid transit along the 12.5-mile Vermont Transit Corridor, including a potential conversion to light rail and a potential light-rail extension to West Hollywood.