Above is a new chart from Metro on the amount of federal New Starts funding that Metro has received annually since 1993 — the year Metro was formed. New Starts is a grant program run by the Federal Transit Administration to help local agencies build large, expensive transit projects.
The chart comes at an interesting time. Metro is in the process of applying for $1.2 billion in New Starts funds to be combined with Measure R funds to build the Purple Line Extension’s second section between Wilshire/La Cienega and Century City. (Section 1 will run between Wilshire/Western and Wilshire/La Cienega with heavy construction starting soon). Metro is also seeking a $307 million low-interest loan from the federal TIFIA program for Section 2.
The New Starts application is going well. The Federal Transit Administration recently gave Metro approval to begin the engineering phase of Section 2 for the Purple Line Extension — a very positive sign. Assuming the New Starts funds are approved, that would mean that Metro would be receiving more than $300 million in New Starts funds annually.
As you can see on the above chart, $300 million each year would be considerably more than Metro currently is receiving. The primary reason for that: the Measure R half-cent sales tax increase approved by nearly 68 percent of Los Angeles County voters enabled Metro to seek matching federal funds.