Eight key transportation projects in Los Angeles County were awarded a total of $448 million in state bond money on Wednesday by the California Transportation Commission at their meeting in Sacramento.
The Alameda Corridor East project received $336.6 million to help eliminate street crossings of the busy Union Pacific railroad tracks in San Gabriel. The overall project aims to improve safety and reduce the number of street crossings along 70 miles of railroad tracks in the San Gabriel Valley.
The second phase of the Expo Line light rail project — which will run for 6.7 miles between Culver City, Los Angeles and Santa Monica — received $35.3 million. When completed in 2015, the full Expo Line between downtown Los Angeles and downtown Santa Monica is expected to be one of the busiest light rail lines in the United States.
The four-mile extension of Metro’s popular Orange Line busway from Canoga Park to Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley received $13.5 million. Also awarded money were three traffic signal synchronization projects to better manage traffic on Foothill Boulevard in the San Fernando Valley and in South Los Angeles.
“We’re expanding our transit system, increasing the number of High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, optimizing traffic flow in our streets and we’re helping speed the flow of freight through our region,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also the Chair of the Metro Board of Directors. “These projects will help bolster our local economy, create jobs and help reduce traffic congestion in Los Angeles County.”
“Today’s CTC action makes good on the state’s promise to the San Gabriel Valley to fund this vital, shovel-ready project,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, Vice-Chair of the MTA, in regards to the Alameda Corridor East project. “Constructing the San Gabriel trench will create thousands of new jobs, relieve congestion, reduce air pollution caused by idling cars blocked by trains at grade crossings and improve the quality of life for our San Gabriel Valley residents.”
Metro officials also thanked Governor Jerry Brown, State Treasurer Bill Lockyer and the Legislature for setting aside the funds needed to go ahead with the bond sales.
The money comes from Prop 1B bonds approved by California voters in 2006 to help pay for transportation needs throughout the state. The California Transportation Commission is in charge of allocating most of the $19.925 billion in bond money based on the merit and need of the projects.
Two projects at the Port of Long Beach were also awarded funds. The Pier F Support Yard Project and the Ocean Boulevard Track Realignment will both help make rail operations more efficient. The Port estimates that the Pier F project will eliminate 70,000 truck trips to the port each year, which will help ease congestion in the area and improve air quality.
The CTC is also expected to vote Thursday on approving $19.8 million in funds for a Caltrans project to widen the 5 Freeway between the 605 freeway and the Orange County line.