The bill was approved by the House and Senate on Friday and President Obama has said he will sign the bill.
Most significantly for Metro, the bill allows $250 million in funding for the Purple Line Extension and the Regional Connector to go forward. The federal government had previously committed to provide grants for both projects — $1.2 billion for the first segment of the Purple Line Extension and $670 million for the Regional Connector — but it’s up to Congress to dole out portions of that funding to Metro each year.
Even better for Metro: the bill also provides funding for section two of the Purple Line Extension between Wilshire/La Cienega and Century City. That project is expected to receive a $1.2-billion federal grant next year.
Here’s the news release from Metro:
Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Bill – Includes Significant Rail Funding For Metro
Earlier today, the U.S. Congress voted to approve an Omnibus spending bill that will provide funding for federal agencies for the balance of Federal Fiscal Year 2016. The Omnibus bill, which is expected to be signed into law by President Obama, includes robust funding for two major rail projects currently being constructed by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro). The rail projects securing federal funds in this bill are the Regional Connector, section 1 of the Westside Purple Line Extension (from Wilshire/Western to La Cienega Boulevard and section 2 of the Westside Purple Line Extension (from La Cienega Boulevard to Century City).
“Metro thanks the U.S. Congress for providing over $250 million in federal transportation funds for Los Angeles County rail projects in their Omnibus spending bill for Fiscal Year 2016,” said Metro Chairman and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “These federal funds will ensure that Metro can continue to successfully expand our rail network across Los Angeles County. I want to emphasize that I am deeply appreciative of the efforts of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who as a senior member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, worked diligently to ensure that these federal transportation funds flow directly into Los Angeles County. I am also thankful for the outstanding advocacy of Congresswoman Karen Bass in successfully securing these much needed federal transportation funds. Last but certainly not least, I am grateful to President Obama for indicating his support for this spending bill that will create more good paying construction jobs in Los Angeles County.”
In 2014, both the Regional Connector and section 1 of the Westside Purple Line Extension secured Federal Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGA) from the U.S. Department of Transportation. FFGA’s represent the federal government’s long-term commitment to build major rail capital projects. The Regional Connector FFGA is valued at $670 million and was accompanied by a $160 million low-interest federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan. The Westside Purple Line Extension (section 1) FFGA is valued at over $1.2 billion and was accompanied by a $856 million low-interest federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan. Section 2 of the Westside Purple Line Extension is expected to secure an FFGA next year valued at approximately $1.2 billion and is also expected to secure a $307 million low-interest federal Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act loan.