The 17.7km nine-station line will follow the alignment of the existing Coaster commuter rail line from Old Town to serve Linda Vista, Pacific Beach, and the University of California San Diego campus before reaching a park-and-ride terminus at Westfield UTC in University City.

The environmental report for the project was approved by the United States Federal Transit Administration last month.

The completion of the environmental process means preliminary works can start on the $US 1.7bn project and major construction will begin at the end of next year with the aim of commissioning the line in 2019.