Video: President signs the Surface Transportation Bill

Screen shot of President Barack Obama signing Surface Transportation Bill that includes 'America Fast Forward' credit: www.whitehouse.gov/live

Screen shot of President Barack Obama signing Surface Transportation Bill that includes ‘America Fast Forward’ credit: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live

The Surface Transportation Bill was signed into law at 5:32 EST. In case you missed it, here is a replay in the ‘photos & video’ menu of the White House website.

About America Fast Forward embedded in transportation bill: previous post 

Watch live on C-SPAN: President set to sign the Surface Transportation Bill

UPDATE (2:04 p.m.): The signing will be streamed live at http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
President Obama is scheduled to sign the Surface Transportation Bill at 4:55 p.m. EST (1:55 p.m. PST). The long-awaited transportation bill includes America Fast Forward, which would make it possible for localities — including Los Angeles — to accelerate their transportation projects. Congress voted (House: 373-52, Senate: 74-19) to approve the bill last Friday, June 29. Watch it live on C:SPAN and whitehouse.gov/live, beginning at 1:55 PST

Go Metro Weekends, July 6-8

June’s opening reception at WWA gallery. Photo via WWA gallery Facebook page

This Friday, head to the Cowboy Palace for some hot country music and free dance lessons. Learn how to line dance from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and then enjoy a performance by Mary White. The bar has a real hitching post out front, so don’t be surprised if you see some horses idling near the door. (Metro Orange Line to Chatsworth Station, exit north toward Devonshire, Metro Bus 166 to Devonshire/Owensmouth)

The Fractured Fairy Tales show opens at the WWA gallery this Saturday. Go check out the charmingly whimsical new takes on the fairy tales you grew up with and perhaps find something to take home. The opening night reception is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. The show runs until August. (Metro Expo Line to Culver City Station, exit toward Washington, walk southwest to Culver Blvd. for about 5-10 minutes, or transfer to Culver City Bus 1 to Washington/Cardiff)

If you’re a fan of outdoor movies, Dazed and Confused will be showing on the largest outdoor screen west of the Mississippi this Saturday at Grand Hope Park. Admission ranges from $10 to $20. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and food trucks will be there to provide dinner. Live music starts at 7 p.m. with the band The Little Ones playing, and the movie goes on at 8:30 p.m. The movie is rated R, so it might be best to leave the kids at home for this one. (Metro Blue/Expo/Red/Purple Lines to 7th/Metro Station, exit Hope Street and walk 2 blocks south, Metro Bus 66 to 9th/Hope)

The battleship USS Iowa opens to the public this Saturday. Visitors are welcome on the ship from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission tickets are $18.00 and you can buy them in advance online. (Metro Bus 450 to Harbor/1st)

The art of transit

photo by DennisM2, via Flickr creative commons

Another in our occasional series of rural bus stops. This one’s pretty nice. Guess where? Answer is after the jump.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

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The art of transit

photo by Aguinaldo Rocca, via Flickr creative commons

Interesting middle-of-the-road bus stop in Sao Paulo, Brazil. I’m guessing the photo was taken from the overpass leading to the bus platform.

To submit a photo for the Art of Transit, post it to Metro’s Flickr group, email it to sourcemetro@gmail.com or Tweet it to @metrolosangeles with an #artoftransit hashtag. Many of the photos we’ve featured can be seen in these galleries on Flickr.

FTA Grants Record of Decision to Regional Connector Project

Last Friday, while Metro was celebrating the impending public opening of the Metro Orange Line Extension, the agency received some excellent news from the Federal Transit Administration on the Regional Connector Project.

FTA granted the Metro a Record of Decision (ROD) for the $1.37 billion project, officially certifying that the project has now satisfied all federal environmental guidelines.

The action is an important prerequisite for Metro to begin final design of the nearly two-mile underground light rail line in Downtown L.A. and for the agency to seek federal funding to help build it.

Regional Connector, partially funded with $160 million in Measure R sales tax money approved by voters in 2008, is considered one of the region’s most significant transit projects because it will connect the Metro Gold Line, Blue Line and Expo Line through downtown L.A., enabling passengers to take a “one seat ride” from Montclair to Long Beach, and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.

The line will include three new light rail stations in Downtown Los Angeles at 1st/Central, 2nd/Broadway, and 2nd/Hope.  The new stations are estimated to provide access to 88,200 passengers, including approximately 17,700 new transit riders.

With the ROD now in hand, Metro can request initiation of  final design and commence discussions with the FTA to secure a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), which will constitute a federal matching contribution to the project.  Metro estimates construction of the tunnel and new stations could begin in August 2013.  Initial utility relocation work could begin in July of this year.  The project, if fully funded, could open in 2019.

Metro staff is planning a round of community meetings, estimated to take place in late August 2012, to discuss the stations and station area design process.