Metro to receive more than $390 million to improve public transit and air quality

Excellent news for L.A. County this evening. Metro will receive funds to support a variety of notable projects. Here’s the release:

This week Metro was awarded more than $390 million from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) to support construction of new rail, upgrade existing transit service, buy much needed rail cars, repair and improve buses and create jobs. The money comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, Proposition 1A, the voter-approved High-Speed Rail Bond, and the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The High-Speed Rail Bond program targets some funds at connectivity with future high-Speed rail service. Metro used its Measure R funds, approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008, to aid in leveraging state funding to Los Angeles County.

Projects benefiting from $390 million in state bond funds include $264 million for the Regional Connector project, which will improve connectivity county wide by linking Metro’s Blue, Expo and Gold lines via a 1.9-mile extension of light-rail tracks beneath downtown Los Angeles, and $61 million included in the current Life of Project for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, an 8.5-mile light-rail line that will connect the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line and provide a link to LAX. Another portion of the funding — $45.4 million — will aid in the purchase of 78 light-rail vehicles for system-wide service expansion and for use on future light-rail lines that will open during the next few years. The state also released $19.9 million for Metro’s Bus Rehabilitation Program to repair and improve up to 321 buses.

“These funds will help us continue to expand and upgrade the Metro system,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “They are slotted for bus and rail projects that will work together to buy us improved mobility and move us closer to our goal of creating a 21st Century transit network for our region.”

The projects were included in the Metro Long Range Transportation Plan and were chosen because they already are underway and the new round of funding will ensure they stay on schedule.

The Caltrans funding comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, which is providing $3.6 billion over a 10-year period to improve public transit in California. To date, Proposition 1B has provided more than $2 billion in funding to approximately 750 transit projects statewide, with 340 completed.

Categories: Transportation News

17 replies

  1. @ Ryan K.: That $19.9 million to provide mid-life overhauls to buses is a huge increase from any budget over the last 15 years, where the equipment was NOT being properly maintained. The other funds help pay for big projects like the Regional Connector, which, when done, will let you ride a train from Long Beach to Pasadena to Azusa on a one seat ride. Again, the money is to fix things, not to operate service, which is known as Operating Funds.

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  2. Sam,

    “It would seam fair if you had to pay the real cost of each bus trip which is about $3.25. You are getting an absolute bargain.”

    This depends on individual perspective and individual travel distance needs.

    $3.25 is still cheap if you’re going a long distance. If I’m going from Santa Monica to Downtown LA, I’d be happy to pay $3.25.

    But $3.25 to ride the bus when traveling within a certain area (i.e. traveling within Koreatown and using the bus to go within a 5 mi radius) is a total rip-off. No one will ride it for short distances and they’d rather walk or use a bicycle instead.

    What it ultimately ends up doing is LESS people taking public transit for shorter distances, leading to overall, less revenue for public transit.

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  3. The $61.0 M for the Crenshaw/LAX project, Is this brand new funding or are these already identified but not yet awarded sources of funding? Same question for the $264M for the Regional Connector project?

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