President Biden visits L.A. to talk infrastructure

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California Construction News staff writer

In a speech at Los Angeles County Metro’s Purple Line Extension’s Westwood/VA Station construction site on Oct. 13, President Joe Biden promoted his $1 trillion infrastructure law and his plan to invest in America’s bridges, roads, internet and mass transit.

“As for building infrastructure, the United States was ranked 13th in the world. We should be ranked No. 1,” he said, looking around the site where a tunnel boring machine has completed work under Wilshire Boulevard to connect downtown with the Westside.

Biden also emphasized a provision in the infrastructure law requiring contractors to hire local workers for federally-funded construction projects. The D Line (Purple) extension has 100,000 workers building that extension, many from Southern California.

“We are standing up for working people and the right to get a raise and get a better job,” Biden said, telling the audience infrastructure projects are crucial for improving people’s quality of life and economic opportunities.

Construction on the Metro Purple line extension started in 2019, and its newest extension will add seven stops in three sections between Downton Los Angeles and the Westside.

The first section includes stops along Wilshire Boulevard and La Brea Avenue, Fairfax Avenue and La Cienega Boulevard and is scheduled to open in 2024. In 2025, the second phase is expected open lines on Wilshire Boulevard and Rodeo Drive and Constellation Boulevard in Century City. The third phase is expected to finish in 2027 with stops near the University of California, Los Angeles and the VA Hospital.

“The transit system needs an upgrade badly — you know that,” he said. “It needs to connect poor neighborhoods, ease traffic congestion, air pollution and make it easier for people to get around.”

the Metro project will prioritize local workers under  an infrastructure law provision spearheaded by Congresswoman Karen Bass.

“Especially in a time when people are looking for work and our economy is in need of a push, it makes no sense that people living in our communities couldn’t be prioritized for these jobs,” Bass said.

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