Good news for the Purple Line Extension and the Regional Connector, the pair of Metro projects slated to receive money this fiscal year from the federal New Starts program. The projects are set to receive $65 million each in the 2014 fiscal year.
New Starts helps local transit agencies fund large projects and Congress appears set to fund New Starts for fiscal year 2014. The federal program is currently helping to fund over two dozen projects around the United States. New Starts is also an annual target for some critics, so it’s good to hear that it is being fully funded in fiscal year 2014.
Overall, the Purple Line Extension’s first phase is due to receive about $1.25 billion and the Connector $675 million in New Starts money. Both projects are also receiving money from Measure R, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by L.A. County voters in 2008, as well as a federally-backed loan program called TIFIA.
The cost of planning and construction of the first phase of the Purple Line is budgeted at $2.86 billion while planning and construction of the Regional Connector is budgeted at $1.42 billion.
The New Starts money is awarded to transit agencies on an annual basis — the money isn’t awarded all at once, thus the reason that both the Purple Line Extension and Regional Connector are set to each $65 million in this fiscal year’s spending bill.
Here is coverage in the L.A. Times today and here is the update from Metro’s government relations staff:
House/Senate Spending Bill For Fiscal Year 2014 is Made Public –Full Funding Included for New Starts Program
Moments ago, the details of H.R. 3457, a bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2014 was made public. The bill, which includes a funding level of just over $1 trillion, will likely be voted on first by the U.S. House of Representatives and then later this week by the U.S. Senate. The bill includes the following language regarding the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Starts program:
CAPITAL INVESTMENT GRANTS – The bill appropriates $1,942,938,000 for new fixed-guideway projects. Combined with available prior year transit funds, a total of $2,132,000,000 is available for new start activities.
This level of funding is adequate to fully fund the President’s Fiscal Year 2014 Budget request of $65 million for the Purple Line Extension and $65 million for the Regional Connector. The bill issued this evening also increases funding for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s popular TIGER grant program to $600 million, an increase of $100 million over last year.