This is wonky but significant: Metro announced today that it will receive $482 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) to help pay for a road safety project, a key transit project in the San Fernando Valley and a program to replace aging buses, as well as several others (Metro’s application for the funds is above).
The California Transportation Commission (CTC) approved the STIP last Wednesday. The STIP is updated every two years and in 2016 was short of funding — meaning some projects that should have received funding did not until now.
That situation has now been reversed thanks to an influx of funds from Senate Bill 1, the transportation bill approved by the Legislature last year and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown. SB 1 raised vehicle fees and the gas tax (the gas tax hadn’t been increased since 1994) and marks the state’s largest investment in transportation in more than 40 years.
It also helps that Los Angeles County voters in late 2016 approved the Measure M sales tax ballot measure. Measure M combined with Measure R from 2008 provides local funding that helps Metro lure state and federal funds for projects and programs.
Three Metro projects were among those chosen by the CTC as recipients of funding from the STIP:
•In partnership with Caltrans, Metro received $131 million for safety improvements on State Route 138 between Palmdale and the San Bernardino County line, including widening three segments.
•The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor — which proposes to build bus rapid transit or light rail between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station — will garner $202 million, a big assist with a project that is part of Metro’s Twenty-Eight by ’28 Initiative to build 28 major projects in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics and Paralympics.
•And Metro’s ongoing Bus Fleet Replacement program will receive $47 million. Buses will be clean – exact models are to be determined pending the results of Metro’s zero emissions bus technology assessment.
Five other projects also received funding from STIP. These include $20 million for converting State Route 71 to a freeway, $12 million for ramp improvements at the I-405/Crenshaw Boulevard interchange, $14 million for replacing the Shoemaker Bridge that connects SR 710 to downtown Long Beach, $18 million for improvements to the I-5 and I-605 interchange and $22 million for improvements to the SR 91 and I-605 interchange.