My sense is that one factor in any future acceleration decision is whether the Los Angeles region seriously pursues the 2024 Summer Olympics. Earlier this year, then-Mayor Villaraigosa wrote the U.S. Olympic Committee, saying L.A. is interested. On his first day in office in July, Mayor Garcetti wrote USOC, saying much the same thing. (More info
on the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games website)
If so, pursuing transit upgrades could become part of an overall infrastructure upgrade. Cities almost always promise key infrastructure upgrades as part of their Olympic bids. And there are a couple of Measure R projects that I'm guessing Olympic officials might be interested in: the Purple Line Extension to Westwood and the Airport Metro Connector, currently scheduled to be done in 2036 and 2028, respectively.
UCLA sits at the end of the third phase of the Purple Line Extension and some of the school's facilities could be used as an Olympic venue. Pauley Pavilion hosted gymnastics in 1984, back in the pre-Staple Center days.
The Airport Metro Connector seeks to connect the LAX terminals to the Crenshaw/LAX line via bus rapid transit, people mover, light rail or some combination of those three. If L.A. is going to compete for an Olympics, L.A. also needs to realize that many other metro areas across the globe have managed to breach the gap between their airport and their transit systems.
Of course, there is also the matter of Olympic politics. Tokyo also hosted the 1964 Summer Games. Who knows if the IOC would want to put the next Olympics in a city such as L.A. that has already twice hosted them. On the other hand, the U.S. last hosted a Summer Olympics in 1996 in Atlanta.
The hope here is that L.A. will be a strong contender because so many facilities are already here
, assuming the Coliseum or Rose Bowl could be retrofitted with a running track.
Even without Measure R projects being accelerated, our region can still boast of a serious transit expansion since the 1984 Olympics — when there was no Metro Rail or Metrolink. Metro now runs 87.7 miles of rail and Metrolink service spans six counties. Even without acceleration, Metro is still planning to open five projects in the next decade: the second phase of the Expo Line, the Gold Line Foothill Extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line, the Regional Connector and the first phase of the Purple Line Extension before 2024. That would make it far easier to travel around to different events.