Metro’s Board of Directors Thursday approved the adoption of a light-rail system for the proposed 9.2-mile East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project.

Los Angeles County transportation officials already approved the light-rail project as their preferred alternative earlier this month, before it was presented to the agency’s board of directors.

The new line would operate along Van Nuys Boulevard from San Fernando to Sherman Oaks, and link several Valley transit arteries, including the Orange Line and the planned Sepulveda Transit Corridor rail line, which aims to connect the Valley and the Westside through rail by 2035. After the board’s approval of the draft environmental impact report, the agency will roll out a final EIR, which is expected to be completed in 2019.

The proposal has sparked criticism from community leaders and business owners who said the project would force some businesses to move, but other business leaders have said it is a welcome addition to Valley commerce.

“Today’s approval of light rail for the East Valley Transit Corridor is a crucial step toward delivering on the promise made to voters,” Valley Industry & Commerce Association President Stuart Waldman said. “For years, VICA has led advocacy and coalition-building efforts to grow support for bringing rail to the San Fernando Valley. This is exactly what Valley residents voted for when they stood with VICA and supported Measure M. We are thrilled this is finally becoming a reality.”

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