Metro’s Crenshaw/LAX line brings promise of jobs, revitalization to South LA

Metro Expo Line

Metro Expo Line

Excerpt from Intersections South LA, By Jordyn Holman, 2/13/14:

The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX light rail line, approved for construction in 2012, promised to connect the Crenshaw Corridor to other parts of the city, such as the South Bay and the Los Angeles International Airport. And in 2011 when Metro passed the Project Labor Agreement, a measure aimed to designate a percentage of the construction jobs to local residents, residents presumed the line construction meant an opportunity for employment.

“The construction for the line could be an example of renewal,” said Lola Smallwood Cuevas, director of the Los Angeles Black Work Center, an organization dedicated to reducing employment discrimination. “It could create new jobs, provide transportation and bring investments to the community. It could be a triple bottom line victory for our community.”

The PLA states that 40 percent of the construction jobs must go to people living in zip codes with high unemployment rates, according to Metro. Of that 40 percent, 10 percent of jobs must be assigned to disadvantaged workers, such as veterans or emancipated foster care youth. The agreement also stipulates that 20 percent of workers should be apprentices who have spent more than 4,000 hours learning a particular trade.

Because the project receives federal funding, all people living in zip codes with high unemployment rates are eligible to work on the line. The unions cannot pick workers from specific zip codes , but are expected to select employees from neighborhoods within Los Angeles County because of its proximity and areas with high unemployment rates.

The Crenshaw/LAX line, which broke ground on Jan. 21, is Metro’s first project that will be started and completed with the labor agreement in place.

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Crenshaw Line Information from Metro: