Metro to receive more than $390 million to improve public transit and air quality

Excellent news for L.A. County this evening. Metro will receive funds to support a variety of notable projects. Here’s the release:

This week Metro was awarded more than $390 million from the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and the California Department of Transportation (CALTRANS) to support construction of new rail, upgrade existing transit service, buy much needed rail cars, repair and improve buses and create jobs. The money comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, Proposition 1A, the voter-approved High-Speed Rail Bond, and the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP). The High-Speed Rail Bond program targets some funds at connectivity with future high-Speed rail service. Metro used its Measure R funds, approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008, to aid in leveraging state funding to Los Angeles County.

Projects benefiting from $390 million in state bond funds include $264 million for the Regional Connector project, which will improve connectivity county wide by linking Metro’s Blue, Expo and Gold lines via a 1.9-mile extension of light-rail tracks beneath downtown Los Angeles, and $61 million included in the current Life of Project for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor, an 8.5-mile light-rail line that will connect the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line and provide a link to LAX. Another portion of the funding — $45.4 million — will aid in the purchase of 78 light-rail vehicles for system-wide service expansion and for use on future light-rail lines that will open during the next few years. The state also released $19.9 million for Metro’s Bus Rehabilitation Program to repair and improve up to 321 buses.

“These funds will help us continue to expand and upgrade the Metro system,” said Metro CEO Art Leahy. “They are slotted for bus and rail projects that will work together to buy us improved mobility and move us closer to our goal of creating a 21st Century transit network for our region.”

The projects were included in the Metro Long Range Transportation Plan and were chosen because they already are underway and the new round of funding will ensure they stay on schedule.

The Caltrans funding comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond, which is providing $3.6 billion over a 10-year period to improve public transit in California. To date, Proposition 1B has provided more than $2 billion in funding to approximately 750 transit projects statewide, with 340 completed.

Categories: Transportation News

17 replies

  1. The $61.0 M for the Crenshaw/LAX project, Is this brand new funding or are these already identified but not yet awarded sources of funding? Same question for the $264M for the Regional Connector project?

  2. Sam,

    “It would seam fair if you had to pay the real cost of each bus trip which is about $3.25. You are getting an absolute bargain.”

    This depends on individual perspective and individual travel distance needs.

    $3.25 is still cheap if you’re going a long distance. If I’m going from Santa Monica to Downtown LA, I’d be happy to pay $3.25.

    But $3.25 to ride the bus when traveling within a certain area (i.e. traveling within Koreatown and using the bus to go within a 5 mi radius) is a total rip-off. No one will ride it for short distances and they’d rather walk or use a bicycle instead.

    What it ultimately ends up doing is LESS people taking public transit for shorter distances, leading to overall, less revenue for public transit.

  3. @ Ryan K.: That $19.9 million to provide mid-life overhauls to buses is a huge increase from any budget over the last 15 years, where the equipment was NOT being properly maintained. The other funds help pay for big projects like the Regional Connector, which, when done, will let you ride a train from Long Beach to Pasadena to Azusa on a one seat ride. Again, the money is to fix things, not to operate service, which is known as Operating Funds.

  4. Kim,

    That 19.9 million represents 5% of the 390 million funding. I wouldn’t say that sounds like a very strong prioritization of bus service.

  5. Thanks Kim! I was hoping that they could speed up the purple line in 10 years instead of 30. The first station is by where I live on La brea and Wilshire.

  6. What has not been made clear is that this $390 million is capital funding (used for new or improved infrastructure) rather than operating funding (used to pay for bus routes, fuel, salaries, etc). All transit agencies since the 1980s have kept capital and operating budgets generally separate, and bond funding is always used for capital improvements, while sales tax funding can be used for both. Case in point would be the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which gave transit a great deal of capital funding but nothing for operations. An example would be SamTrans in the Bay Area, which was able to introduce nearly 150 new buses using stimulus funding on the same day that they raised fares and cut service because of an operating shortfall.

  7. @ Apathetically Yours: None of the $390 million goes to wages. Period. Not to Coach Operators or Train Operators and to corporate wages. (Corp. wages have not increased in 4 years.) Did your wages increase in that time? Metro is NOT making service cuts on bus in 2013. It is increasing the Orange Line service by 33%. The $390 is Capital funds, that go to build or fix or maintain the infrastructure. Operating funds are flat. If the bus fare were increased to $2.25 like in other cities, we would have funds to improve service. Just remember that of every $1.00 it costs to operate the bus, taxpayers contribute $ .74 and you the rider contribute only $ .26. It would seam fair if you had to pay the real cost of each bus trip which is about $3.25. You are getting an absolute bargain.

    And @Sick and tired of wasteful spending: The cost of Metro executives that run the operation is only about $10 million and the cost to run the buses is about $900 million. Without anyone to operate the system, how does saving $10 million make a difference?

  8. The money will be wasted in paying for six figure salaries of Metro employees who do absolutely nothing and funding their retirement pensions.

    Must be nice to receive funding from taxpayers and earn big fat paychecks while the rest of us ends paying more in taxes!

    Has anyone looked at how much Metro employees make out of taxpayers? Friggin’ outrageous compared to the private sector!

    And on top of this they get pensions and retirement benefits.

    • Hi Todd,
      No Purple Line money this time. But President Obama’s budget includes $65 million for it. Congress still needs to approve the budget but historically these types of funds don’t change much during budget negotiations, so we’re hopeful.

  9. All we ever hear of is rail, rail, rail. I’m hoping that another consent decree is in the works. Metro is leaving bus riders behind.

    • With $19.9 million for Metro’s Bus Rehabilitation Program, this also benefits buses. Thanks.

      • I’ll bet the $19.9 Million goes into newer buses, new articulated buses, driver wages and NOT ONE BUS LINE SERVICE INCREASE! The MTA is so ANTI-BUS RIDER its sickening! The MTA is the most pathetic excuse of a transit agency in the entire USA!

  10. Will even as much of ONE DOLLAR of this be used to IMPROVE BUS SERVICE? Considering all the DRACONIAN CUTS YOU HAVE MADE, SOME INCREASED BUS LINE SERVICE (e.g. Lines 70, 266, etc.) NEED TO BE MADE!

  11. Lance — Better information at the train station would be a boon. But dedicated railways and bus lanes depends on cooperation from local jurisdictions. If the Wilshire lanes project is a success that may help make other improvements possible.

  12. How about using the money to improve digital sign boards with Accurate bus and Train Arrival Times? i.e. “Next Culver City train in 3 mins Next Downtown LA train in 5 mins” “Next Red Line North Hollywood Train in 2 mins” this would be helpful to Metro Customers. Go to SF and ride the BART their system has faster train service and has accurate train arrival times displayed on the digital sign board Also, Please improve service by adding RAPID(dedicated railways on Expo and bus lanes on the 720, 733) the Expo Line Stops way Too Often and is SLOW or have EXPRESS service during rush hour and having Clean, Comfortable, Efficient, Reliable, ON-TIME service!! I saw so much rubbish and graffiti on my Expo Line train… Thanks, Lance a kid who wants to improve public transport here in Los Angeles