California Transportation Commission awards $516 million to local projects to fix bottlenecks and improve transit

The California Transportation Commission (CTC) on Wednesday approved the award of $516 million in new SB-1 grants for Metro’s local transportation improvements, including:

•$150 million in Solutions for Congested Corridors Program funds for the I-105 ExpressLanes Expansion. The project will build ExpressLanes on the 105 for 16 miles between the 405 and 605 — a very busy stretch of freeway used by many people to travel to and from LAX. There will be two ExpressLanes in each direction, including the existing HOV lane that will be converted to an ExpressLane. The project is expected to reduce daily vehicle delays in both the ExpressLanes and general purpose lanes — and shave minutes off travel time in all lanes. 

•$25 million in Local Partnership Program funds for NextGen Bus Improvements to provide faster and more frequent bus service to Metro riders. The NextGen plan was approved by Metro’s Board of Directors in October and will eventually result in buses running every five to 10 minutes for 83 percent of Metro’s current riders compared to around 48 percent today. NextGen will be implemented in three phases, beginning Sunday, Dec. 13. Please see this Source post for a rundown of the upcoming changes. This funding will go toward speed and reliability improvements, including all-door boarding, transit signal priority and bus priority lanes.

•$5.5 million in Local Partnership Program funds for La Canada Flintridge Soundwall Improvements along the busy I-210 freeway. The 210 is a primary connector between the San Gabriel Valley and points east and the I-5 freeway. These funds will build four soundwall segments in La Canada-Flintridge.

•$217.9 million in Trade Corridor Enhancement Program funds for the SR 57/SR 60 Confluence Chokepoint Relief Program to make the notorious interchange safer by reducing weaving and smoothing out traffic flow through the interchange. The funds will construct highway improvements and bypass connectors to reduce accidents and alleviate a truck bottleneck at a location that is critical to goods movement operations across the region, state and nation.

•$118 million in Trade Corridor Enhancement Program funds for SR 91 Goods Movement Corridor Projects. The money will help modify the I-605/SR-91 interchange to improve and add capacity to the connector ramps, add an auxilliary lane on the eastbound 91 between the 710 and Cherry Avenue and help bring the 91 up to current freeway standards.

SB-1 is the gas tax and transportation program approved by the California Legislature in 2017 and signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown to rebuild and modernize the state’s transportation system.

In this cycle, the recommended awards to Los Angeles County represents about 25 percent of the CTC’s total awards statewide, which is a similar share to what Metro received in the first cycle of SB-1 grants. That’s a good haul considering that L.A. County has about a quarter of the state’s population — and three percent of the U.S. population, as well as more than eight million registered vehicles, the nation’s busiest port complex and one of the busiest airports in country.

Staff from Metro’s Countywide Planning team worked with numerous Metro departments, local agency partners and Caltrans to successfully complete applications for these programs. We’re very grateful to all of these partners who have contributed to these successful applications — this is a competitive process and it takes a ton of work to make the case for these projects and receive funding. We will continue to work closely with partner departments and agencies to see these projects completed.

Metro would also like to express its gratitude to the California Transportation Commission for its continued support and interest in improving roads and transit in Los Angeles County. We believe these projects will benefit the local quality of life, economy and environment in our region.


8 replies

  1. “Metro is the transportation planning agency for Los Angeles County. That means that besides running transit, we also distribute funds for transportation projects across the county.”

    Not too be rude, but that actually is the problem here. Not saying I disagree and sound Anti-highway (quite the opposite), but Metro’s image is a public transit agency to the people and that’s it.

    You can explain how the agency is actually responsible for distribution funds, both highway and transit, and at face value that may make sense. But at the end of the day, what stupid law requires a transit agency like Metro to also dip its toes in highway projects is beyond me and may possibly even look like a conflict of interest in the eyes of taxpayers as well.

    What’s the point of having Caltrans around if they have to wait on Metro to give the ends before going to work on building a freeway?

    “We also distribute funds from our sales taxes to cities across the county (via a funding formula) and those cities often use the funds for road programs.”

    By the sound of this explanation, it seems like the only way LA county cities will get their one train line build quicker, the cities will have to foot their own tax bill. Something WeHo probably should’ve done if they want their Light Rail subway running a lot sooner.

  2. This is why the gravy train of new transportation taxes is going to come to a screeching halt. Voters approved these policies because they wanted change– throwing money into the bottomless pit of latent freeway demand will produce no change. We know our freeways are not going to get any better. People see Metro as the transit agency and expect their capital expenditures to go towards transit improvements and expansions.

    • Hi Julian;

      I completely understand different folks have very different views on the highway program. One thing, however, I would like to clarify: Metro is the transportation planning agency for Los Angeles County. That means that besides running transit, we also distribute funds for transportation projects across the county. We also distribute funds from our sales taxes to cities across the county (via a funding formula) and those cities often use the funds for road programs.

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source

  3. If NextGen is all about better riding experience, then how about something as simple as a faucet + sink to let riders wash hands while waiting for the buses, such as at the:

    Cesar Chavez Transit Pavilion
    Patsaouras Bus Plaza
    El Monte Station
    Harbor Gateway Transit Center

    That would already be a simple but significant amenity. Sometimes we really need/want to just wash our hands.

  4. Wow 25 million out of 516 million for something other than highway expansions. Loving this forward thinking! Keep LA driving!!!!!!!!!!

  5. 25 million for buses is chump change– imagine if have of that $500+ million went to buses (that would be a game changer)

  6. What specifically is the money buying for NextGen? Is it going to operations to pay for more service hours, or is it paying for bus lanes, signal priority, better shelters, or something like that?

    • Hi jfruh;

      The project description is “Implementation of speed and reliability improvements from Metro NextGen Transit First Service Plan, including all-door boarding, transit signal priority, and bus priority lanes.”

      Steve Hymon
      Editor, The Source