A $546-million federal loan that will enable Metro to more quickly build an 8.5-mile light rail line in the Crenshaw District was announced today by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).
It is the first federal funding received for a Measure R transit project and will accelerate the schedule for completion of the Crenshaw/LAX line to the next five or six years; the Crenshaw Line was scheduled to open in 2018 under Metro’s long-range plan. The low-interest loan will be repaid with Measure R revenues.
The funding is a major step forward for the 30/10 Initiative, the Metro policy that seeks to build 12 Measure R transit projects in the next 10 years instead of the next 30 by using federal loans and other financing.
In a news release Senator Boxer said, “This is a great day. The federal government — in partnership with local agencies and the Mayor’s office [L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa] — is helping to leverage local funding to accelerate creation of thousands of jobs, to speed construction of transportation improvements and to bring those benefits to the people of L.A. sooner than would otherwise be possible.”
Senator Boxer announced the funding package in a conference call today with Mayor Villaraigosa, Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Federation of Labor Executive Secretary-Treasurer Maria Elena Durazo and Metro CEO Art Leahy.
Mayor Villaraigosa was in Washington earlier this week to participate in a meeting with President Obama about upgrading the nation’s transportation infrastructure.
An official announcement will be made at a press conference to be held next Wednesday.
The $546 million loan from the federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program will help get construction underway for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor project, an 8.5-mile light rail line in the Crenshaw District which will connect to the Metro Green Line and the Expo Line, currently under construction, eventually providing direct train service to a planned LAX transit center.
Metro is currently preparing environmental documents and soon will begin preliminary engineering. Construction could start in late 2011.
The Crenshaw/LAX line represents the largest public works investment in South Los Angeles in history, said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas.
“Not only will this project bring much needed economic development to an important region of the County, but these federal dollars will result in more than 7,800 much needed jobs for our community during the development of this project. I will make every effort to see that these jobs are allocated fairly to both local residents and those who live in ZIP codes that are most impacted by high unemployment,” said Ridley-Thomas.
“I am very grateful to Senator Boxer and the Obama Administration for this down payment on our 30/10 initiative to move forward with the Crenshaw line and create jobs we need now,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “Senator Boxer has been a tireless advocate for 30/10, and without her efforts this award would not have been possible.”