Metro Secures $300 Million in Federal Funds for Rail Projects
The U.S. Department of Transportation announced that it will appropriate $300 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) for two major rail projects in Los Angeles County. This federal funding, which was made possible by Congress adopting and President Obama signing into law late last year the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus appropriations bill, will benefit both the Regional Connector and Westside Purple Line Extension (Sections 1 and 2) transit projects.
Specifically, the federal government will be providing $100 million to the Regional Connector and $200 million for the Westside Purple Line Extension (Sections 1 and 2) this Federal Fiscal Year (Oct. 1, 2015 through Sept. 30, 2016).
"We are deeply appreciative of President Obama, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx and the U.S. Congress for this investment in Los Angeles County. This $300 million will allow us to continue our mission to better serve millions of Angelinos with expanded and improved transit services," said Metro board chair Mark Ridley-Thomas. "I am especially appreciative of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who as a senior member of the Senate appropriations committee, worked hard to secure these important federal funds for Los Angeles. We also owe our thanks to U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer and our Los Angeles County Congressional Delegation, whose work on the recently adopted FAST Act safeguarded the federal government's commitment to transit projects and programs."
"The announcement today that $300 million in federal transportation dollars will be headed to Los Angeles will ensure that Metro can bring more mobility to serve commuters in LA County. I am pleased that these federal dollars will support good paying construction jobs in Los Angeles," said Metro CEO Phillip Washington.
In Feb. of 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation provided a Federal Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) in the amount of $670 million for the Regional Connector. This FFGA for the Regional Connector was accompanied by a $160 million low-interest federal loan provided through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program.
The Regional Connector, which is currently under construction, extends from the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles, allowing passengers to transfer to Blue, Expo, Red and Purple Lines, bypassing Union Station. The 1.9-mile alignment will serve Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Civic Center, The Historic Core, Broadway, Grand Av, Bunker Hill, Flower St and the Financial District. This new Metro Rail extension will also provide a one-seat ride for travel across Los Angeles County. From the Metro Gold Line, passengers will be able to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without transferring lines.
In May of 2014, the U.S. Department of Transportation provided an FFGA in the amount of $1.2 billion for the Westside Purple Line Extension (Section 1) transit project. This FFGA for the Westside Purple Line Extension was accompanied by a $856 million low interest federal TIFIA loan. The Westside Purple Line Extension transit project, which is currently under construction, is a critically important rail project that will provide a high-capacity, high-speed, dependable alternative for commuters to travel between downtown Los Angeles and Westwood in just 25 minutes. The project, which will be built in three phases, will continue from the current station at Wilshire/Western extending westward for about nine miles along Wilshire Boulevard with seven new stations at Wilshire/La Brea, Wilshire/Fairfax, Wilshire/La Cienega, Wilshire/Rodeo, Century City/Constellation, Westwood/UCLA, and Westwood/VA Hospital. Later this year, Metro expects to enter into a second FFGA for Section 2 of the Westside Purple Line Extension which runs from Wilshire/La Cienega to Century City.