The Metro Board of Directors voted Thursday to study two potential routes for a light rail line that would bring stops to downtown’s Arts District neighborhood for the first time.

The vote approved the further study of two potential northern routes for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, which will build a 20-mile light rail line between Artesia and downtown Los Angeles. The southern part of the route between Artesia and the southern part of downtown L.A. has been determined, but the two routes now under consideration would have the line either travel straight along Alameda Street to Union Station, or veer from Alameda at Seventh Street to the Seventh Street/Metro Center or Pershing Square stations.

The options will be studied as part of the project’s draft environmental impact statement/report.

“This is an important Measure M-funded project that will connect communities in Southeastern Los Angeles County to downtown Los Angeles and the growing Metro Rail system,” Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington said. “Choosing these options for more study is a big step in keeping the project on track.”

The new line is being funded with Measure M and Measure R funds, two ballot initiatives approved by county voters in 2016 and 2008, respectively. Measure M is expected to raise $120 billion over 40 years for transit projects.

The Measure M spending plan proposed building the project in two phases, with the first opening as early as 2028 and the second phase by 2041, but Metro said its Office of Extraordinary Innovation is working to accelerate the entire project in one phase.

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