Business, labor and environmental groups ask Sen. Feinstein to secure federal funding for large transit projects

Click above to see the entire letter.

A local — and very diverse — range of community groups sent a letter to Senator Dianne Feinstein this week, asking her to continue to fight for federal New Starts funding for the Westside Subway Extension and the Regional Connector.

New Starts is the federal program that helps local transit agencies pay the largest and most expensive transit projects. Metro has applied for — and is likely to receive — about $3 billion from New Starts for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector, two projects also receiving money from the Measure R sales tax increase approved by county voters in 2008.

Sen. Feinstein sits on the Senate’s Appropriations Committee and its subcommittee on transportation, housing and urban development. That makes her a pivotal figure when it comes time for the Senate to set funding levels for New Starts in next year’s federal budget.

The challenge this coming year is twofold. New Starts funding, as the chart below shows, significantly declined between 2010 and 2011. And Republicans in the House of Representatives have made it clear they want to further cut spending on transportation.

FY Enacted

(millions of dollars)

Administration Request

(millions of dollars)

2005 1,157.70 1,531.93
2006 1,246.16 1,531.25
2007 1,456.52 1,466.00
2008 1,569.09 1,399.82
2009 1,577.56 1,621.00
2010 1,998.00 1,827.34
2011 1,594.80 1,822.11

Metro needs funding to, at the least, remain stable as the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector continue to head toward the beginning of construction, which is expected to begin in the next two years if everything stays on track (pun intended).


8 replies

  1. @Y Fukuzawa I agree. It’s bad enough we voters approved the Measure R tax and felt for this fraud. The Transit fare distance model won’t happen.

    I do agree we need to find alternative ways to get revenue. Metro should just remove Transit TV and politicians should re-peal the LAC Measure R tax and Metro should find new source of revenue.

  2. No more taxes. Metro has to figure out alternative ways to increase revenue. End this flat rate boondoggle just because “it’s easier,” and get to work like everybody to make transit fares fairer on a pay per distance model. All it does is hurt short distance riders which doesn’t add to any increase in ridership. We have the technology to do this cost effectively.

  3. We’ll let see what happens, considering she’s a democrat, this may likely happen but if not then get it over.

    These ideas are good though but I prefer taking my express bus (mainly from other Transit System in LA that is NOT Metro) any day over Metro Rail.

    At least Blue and Expo Line will connect with Gold Line.

    @Jose, I think people are already doing that to the government which is “PAYING TAXES” already.

    @George, Actually I disagree. We should leave car drivers alone even truck drivers that drive, they pay enough of their bills.

    Just like how I disagree with U.S following Europe’s lead and prioritize transportation alternatives over the private automobile (well there was an article about it months ago on the source) since it’s a violation of freedom, bill of rights and it’s unconstitutional and we aren’t a socialist country, we are capitalist which is a fact.

    So yea, I oppose gas taxes for car drivers since it’s unconstitutional.

  4. I agree with George. I would even support a local gas tax, if such a thing were allowable…

  5. Considering CA gives more money to the Federal Government than it receives from it, i think loans to get these done faster is the LEAST they could do. Los Angeles is the 2nd largest city, and with a high unemployment rate needs these projects to spur more economic growth. The rail lines have already helped to redefine L.A. and start to show it as a world city.

    We need to get the Westside Subway, and 405 Corridor funded, these alone will change things majorly.

  6. If every citizen where to donate $5-$10 I’m sure we can get it done. No more depending on the Feds or the state. Let the people control the money. Sorry I’m desperate and these rail lines open now. Not in 30-100 years from now.