Some good news out of Washington today: Metro received word that $9.7 million in federal funding for the Wilshire bus lane project has been secured. The project, approved by the Metro Board of Directors this past spring, will add 7.7 miles of peak hour bus lanes to portions of Wilshire, mostly within the city of Los Angeles.
The $9.7 million is the first of two installments that Metro is expected to receive in $23.3 million of Very Small Starts funding, a program run by the Federal Transit Administration to help pay for transit projects. Attentive readers will recall there was concern during the project’s planning stages that shortening the lanes slightly could impact federal funding but that doesn’t appear to be the case.
Construction of the lanes is expected to start next year, with an opening date scheduled for 2013. Here’s the news release from Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein:
Feinstein, Boxer Announce $9.7 Million for Bus Rapid Transit in Los Angeles
Will create dedicated bus lanes along Wilshire Boulevard
Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) today announced a $9.7 million grant for Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to enhance bus rapid transit on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles.
This award was the result of funding that Senator Feinstein secured in the fiscal year 2009 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
Senator Feinstein said, “This Bus Rapid Transit project will reduce travel time on one of Los Angeles’ most important transit routes and enhance the effectiveness of public transportation in Southern California.”
Senator Boxer said, “This important investment will help ease congestion along one of the busiest routes in Los Angeles, reducing pollution and helping thousands of residents get to school and work more quickly each day.”
This project will implement dedicated bus lanes along portions of a 12.5 mile section of Wilshire Boulevard between downtown Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The bus-only lanes will be used exclusively by Bus Rapid Transit service during rush hour and are expected to reduce travel time by 25 percent compared to current service.
Wilshire Boulevard is one of the most important transit corridors in Los Angeles County with approximately 93,000 bus boardings each day.