City council approves transit plan

City council voted Friday to move ahead with implementation plans for the extended light rail transit network.

The 19-to-5 vote comes after a joint transit and transportation committee meeting voted against adopting the proposed plan last week.

The current plan presented by city staff would see the LRT extended east to Blair and west to Tunney's, attached through a downtown tunnel. In the second phase of construction, the LRT would extend further west to Baseline, and finally in the last stage it would extend south to the airport.

The first phase of the project will cost an estimated $ 2.1 billion, with the entire project totalling well over $7 billion.

The next step for the downtown tunnel is the completion of the environmental assessment of the city core, which will look at different routes the tunnel could take. According to city staff, the assessment should be complete this time next year.

If successful, city staff say the the first phase of construction could be complete as early as 10 years from now, with phases two and three done by 2031.