The Exposition Metro Line Construction Authority has advanced a labor agreement to provide jobs to local residents for the construction of the second phase of the Exposition Light Rail project.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Los Angeles Councilman Herb Wesson hailed the Project Labor Agreement for the Exposition Line, noting it will secure jobs for local residents and contracts for small businesses as the county moves to invest a projected $72 million over 30 years in transportation projects.

Both officials maintain that it is essential for local residents to reap the substantial employment and economic benefits of a rail line that passes through their neighborhoods and is funded through taxpayer dollars.

Metro officials say the first segment of the Expo Line from downtown Los Angeles to Culver City is approximately 86 percent complete. The second phase of the light rail is planned to travel from Culver City to Santa Monica.

“A Project Labor Agreement is a vital component of this historic expansion of transportation services,” said Ridley-Thomas. “It would be unconscionable for local workers with the skills, abilities and experience necessary to complete these ambitious projects to not be employed to the greatest extent possible.”

Wesson added, “Only with a fair and equitable labor agreement can we be confident that the best interests of Los Angeles’ residents, business owners, workers and the entire local economy are being served.”

The months-long effort to include local hiring requirements in the light rail project began in May, when the Exposition Construction Authority approved a motion initiating the development of a Construction Careers Policy and a Project Labor Agreement, a spokesman for Ridley-Thomas said.

A final ratification of the formal Project Labor Agreement is scheduled to come before the board next month.