This week is Infrastructure Week 2015, a week meant to highlight the critical importance of investing in and modernizing America’s infrastructure systems. The current federal multi-year transportation spending bill is set to expire in two weeks, and if it does, agencies such as Metro could lose much needed federal dollars. Meaning when the dollars finally come around, costs will likely be higher. Boo!
With that in mind, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has been touring the nation to urge Congress to say “no” to more short-term fixes and “yes” to a long-term funding solution.
One of his stops included Metro’s Division 13, a project funded by the Federal Transit Administration and demonstrates the potential of increased transit investment to create jobs and greener infrastructure. When completed this fall, Division 13 will be one of the greenest bus maintenance facilities in the nation. The facility features a roof-top and façade mounted solar array that provides ten percent of the facility’s electrical needs, a vegetative garden and a 275,000 cistern and pump that reuses rainfall for bus washing and other uses. Division 13 will support 200 buses that will operate throughout Los Angeles.
To continue building new infrastructure such as Division 13, the Purple Line Subway extension, the Crenshaw/LAX Line and more, we will “have to take some bold steps forward and solve it with a big solution,” says Secretary Foxx.
Here’s the press release from the U.S. Department of Transportation:
LOS ANGELES – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today joined officials in Los Angeles to tour the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) Division 13 Bus Maintenance and Operations Facility—a new, state-of-the-art facility that will significantly improve bus service in the heart of the city. Secretary Foxx was joined by Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACMTA CEO Phillip Washington and local officials to discuss the importance of investing in public transportation projects that create ladders of opportunity for local residents.
“Approximately 1.1 million daily transit riders in Los Angeles rely on bus service to access jobs, medical care, education and other vital services,” said Secretary Foxx. “Public transportation provides a critical role in helping these people access the ladders of opportunity that they need. We must continue to invest in our nation’s transportation infrastructure to ensure safe and reliable travel options that meet the needs of today’s riders, as well as for future generations.”
LACMTA’s Division 13 bus facility will serve as a bus maintenance, operations and service facility in downtown Los Angeles, and will accommodate 200 Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) buses and fueling equipment. The facility, which incorporates many sustainable design features, is currently under construction and expected to open this fall. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration (FTA) contributed $53.25 million in federal funding toward the $120 million total project cost.
“With continued transit ridership and population growth expected in greater Los Angeles in the years ahead, additional transportation investments are essential,” said FTA Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “Bus service is an important transit option for millions of Angelinos who need and deserve 21st century transportation choices that provide a much-needed alternative to traffic congestion.”
Investments like LACMTA’s new bus facility are vital to meet the transportation needs of the nation and to support local economic development. Under the Administration’s GROW AMERICA Act, a comprehensive multi-year program to fund infrastructure improvements, $115 billion is identified for investment in transit systems. The proposal significantly increases transit spending which will enable the expansion of new projects that improve connectivity to jobs, education and other opportunities.
In addition, U.S. DOT released a landmark study earlier this year, titled “Beyond Traffic,” that looked at the trends and choices facing American transportation over the next three decades. These included a rapidly growing population, demographic and migratory shifts in rural and urban areas, increasing freight volume, innovations to enhance safety and efficiency, and a transportation system that’s facing more frequent extreme weather events. A key takeaway of the study is that more investment in transportation is needed for the sake of future generations, and the proposals included in GROW AMERICA support that goal.
Categories: Policy & Funding