U.S. Department of Transportation approves $545.9-million loan for Crenshaw/LAX Line

The loan was announced back in 2010, but a lot of paperwork goes into securing these things. The good news is that the deal is now officially complete and the money will go a long way toward the $1.75-billion Crenshaw/LAX Line, which is currently out to bid to contractors.

As for the TIFIA loans, this is the program that was greatly expanded in the two-year federal transportation spending bill approved this summer by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. The gist of it: these loans have favorable terms and are well-suited for local transportation projects.

Here’s a statement from Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been advocating for the expansion of TIFIA for the past three years as part of his America Fast Forward initiative:

“With today’s loan approval, Angelenos are one step closer to getting the transportation system they want and deserve. This flexible, low interest loan will help us build a vital link in our expanding public transit system.

“I traveled to Washington, D.C. to push hard for these funds through countless meetings at the White House, at the Capitol, and at the Department of Transportation. This work has clearly paid off and I will to work until the end of my term to ensure Los Angeles can continue to build a 21st Century transportation system.”

Here’s a statement from Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas:

“The Crenshaw/LAX line is the only project in the region to have received a TIFIA loan,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It is my hope and expectation that this massive infusion of federal funds will enhance the light-rail project in such a way that serves the entire region — speeding passengers to the airport, creating much-needed in the community, and providing the financial flexibility and stability that will see a station located in Leimert Park Village.”

And a statement from Metro Board Chair and Supervisor Mike Antonovich:

“Constructing the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line will bring us one step closer to connecting Los Angeles International Airport to our regional rail system.”

And here is the news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation:

WASHINGTON—U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has approved a $545.9 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan that will enable the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) to advance construction of a new light rail transit line along the Crenshaw corridor that will enhance access to existing transit service throughout Los Angeles.“President Obama called for an America built to last, and this loan program can help us achieve that,” said Secretary LaHood. “This important investment in the future Metro Crenshaw Line will create jobs in Los Angeles, building a major transportation project that will help the regional economy continue to grow and prosper.”The Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor project consists of a new 8.5-mile light rail line and at least six new transit stations with off-street parking. The line will connect existing rail service on the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line, which recently opened for service, making it easier for low-income residents, seniors and other riders to reach downtown Los Angeles, the Westside, South Bay and the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo. The project also includes a new transit vehicle maintenance and storage facility. Continue reading

Transportation headlines, Monday, October 1

Here is a look at some of the transportation headlines gathered by us and the Metro Library. The full list of headlines is posted on the Library’s Headlines blog, which you can also access via email subscription or RSS feed.

It’s called “Dynamics of the Subway.” You’ll want headphones if at work. Explanation here at The Atlantic Cities. It’s way cool.

Los Angeles: restart your engines (L.A. Times)

Carmageddon II comes to a close uneventfully. The article looks at some of the work done over the weekend — paving and tree trimming were part of the mix — and the demolition of the four support structures. That had to be done carefully to avoid damaging the new columns for the new Mulholland Bridge.

Metro to apply to become managing agency for Surfliner (L.A. Streetsblog)

Bottom line here: a new state bill should lead to improvements in Amtrak in Southern California. In this post and a related one, Dana Gabbard provides a good and thorough explanation of the bill and its history and explains why Metro would be interested in overseeing Amtrak’s popular Surfliner service.

Bloomberg: transit should be free (Streetsblog)

He was just talking off the cuff, but New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told a reporter that if starting from scratch, the way to design a great transit system would be make it free and charge motorists to use roads. He hasn’t gone that far in his administration, but has certainly tried to provide more amenities for transit riders (bus lanes), cyclists (bike lanes) and pedestrians (more sidewalks, plazas) while pushing for a congestion pricing project in Manhattan that failed.

 

Governor signs bill that officially puts Measure J on the Nov. 6 ballot in L.A. County

Some news from Sacramento yesterday; see the release below from Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles), who wrote the state bill needed to get Measure J on the ballot. Measure J would continue the Measure R sales tax from mid-2039 to mid-2069, with the sales tax money being used in part to accelerate Measure R projects.

Here’s a web page on metro.net that gives all the particulars on Measure J. On the transit side, Measure J seeks to build all the Measure R transit projects by 2025.

The release:

GOVERNOR SIGNS FEUER LEGISLATION

TO EXPEDITE L.A. COUNTY TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

AB 1446 Authorizes L.A. County Metro to Seek Voter Approval for Extension

Of Existing Measure R Sales Tax for Infrastructure Projects

September 30, 2012 (Sacramento) – Governor Jerry Brown has approved AB 1446 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles).  The measure would, with voter approval, fund Los Angeles County rail, highway, bus and local transportation improvement projects more quickly, jumpstarting those projects and getting Angelenos back to work.

Specifically, the bill would authorize the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) to ask County voters to extend the term of the Measure R sales tax authorization.  This extension would enable Metro to bond against future Measure R revenue and build transportation projects much sooner than originally contemplated, relying only on local funds.

“We need to get these transportation projects underway now,” said Feuer.  “By signing AB 1446, the Governor has agreed to empower L.A. County voters to jumpstart 250,000 jobs and break through traffic congestion that chokes our region.”

Continue reading

And the 405 is officially liberated

That’s the scene as of a couple minutes ago as traffic on the northbound 405 rolled under the Mulholland Drive Bridge with horns a-honkin’ — led by a big-time escort by the CHP and Caltrans vehicles (below). The southbound lanes should be open in the next hour or two. The screen capture was taken from KCBS’ live-cam.

UPDATE: 11:40 p.m. The southbound lanes are now open, too. Have a great morning commute!

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

Photo by Gary Leonard for Metro.

 

Northbound 405 in process of reopening; southbound lanes to follow!

Below is the announcement from Unified Command, the officials overseeing the closure this weekend of the 405 freeway. As with Carmageddon I, the freeway is being reopened early. Metro had been targeting a 5 a.m. Monday opening.

Kiewit, the contractor, has finished the clean up process and the re-opening process of the I-405 Freeway has begun. This process started at the I-10 connector ramps and will work north to open off-ramps at 8 p.m. and all lanes of the northbound I-405 freeway are anticipated to be open by 8:45 p.m.. Once the freeway lanes are officially open, the contractor will start to open northbound on-ramps. Once the northbound lanes are open, the process will be repeated on the southbound lanes. The entire process of re-opening the I-405 Freeway will take approximately three hours.

The Unified Command would like to thank Los Angeles residents for heeding the warning to avoid the Sepulveda Pass area and making Carmageddon II a success.

Official update: 405 on track to reopen at 5 a.m. Monday

Cleanup of the 405 freeway earlier this afternoon. Photo by Ralph G. Sbragia for Metro.

As expected, officials just announced that work on demolition of the northern side of the Mulholland Drive Bridge over the 405 freeway has gone well this weekend. As a result, the 405 is on track to reopen at 5 a.m. tomorrow, as was planned.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that everything has gone well and also thanked area residents for staying off the road this weekend.

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said Carmageddon II marked the “beginning of the end” for the I-405 Sepulveda Improvements Project, which he said will be complete in late 2013.

Aerial footage of the site shows that the northern half of the Mulholland Drive bridge is completely gone, with crews now working to clear the freeway of dirt and construction and demolition materials.