Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) announced that the federal omnibus funding bill, expected to pass Congress this week, includes funding for two Los Angeles subway projects: the downtown regional connector and the Westside extension. Each project was allocated $65 million.
“The federal funding bill expected to pass Congress this week includes $130 million for two key Los Angeles transit projects, the downtown regional connector and the Westside extension. These two subway projects are key to transforming mass transit for Angelinos, and they have been top priorities of mine for years,” Feinstein said.
“Los Angeles is the largest U.S. city without a comprehensive subway system, but Angelinos in 2008 voted to change that, approving Measure R to invest $35 billion over 30 years on the city’s transportation system. This bill shows that the federal government is a legitimate partner in this critical modernization effort.”
These funds represent the first federal funds for either subway project and the first federal grants for a Los Angeles transit project funded by Measure R. Measure R was approved by Los Angeles voters in 2008 and will invest $35 billion in transportation projects over the next three decades.
Los Angeles County MTA plans to sign a “Full Funding Grant Agreement” with the Federal Transit Administration for each subway project in the next few months. These grant agreements will commit the federal government to provide $670 million to the connector and $1.25 billion for the Westside subway extension.
The funding committed in this week’s omnibus funding bill is a down payment against this soon-to-be signed promissory note. The final Full Funding Grant Agreements will be subject to congressional appropriations, so Senator Feinstein will play a significant role in ensuring the federal government appropriates the funds necessary to honor the commitments made in the FFGAs in future fiscal years.
Senator Feinstein has also played a significant role in helping Los Angeles secure federal loans for both projects under the TIFIA program. Terms of the full $160 million loan for the Regional Connector and the $870 million loan for the Westside extension are being finalized.
The Westside Subway Extension, also known as the “Subway to the Sea” or the Purple Line Extension, proposes to extend the purple line from its current terminus at Wilshire and Western to Westwood. The first phase of the extension, to Wilshire/La Cienega, is funded by this legislation. More information is available here: http://www.metro.net/projects/westside.
The downtown Regional Connector is a subway running through downtown Los Angeles. The project extends from the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station, allowing passengers to transfer to Blue, Expo, Red and Purple Lines. The 1.9-mile alignment will serve Little Tokyo, the Arts District, Civic Center, the Historic Core, Broadway, Grand Avenue, Bunker Hill, Flower Street and the Financial District. When the project is completed, the Metro system routes will be restructured to allow one-seat ride for travel across Los Angeles County. From the Metro Gold Line, passengers will be able to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without transferring lines. More information is available here: http://www.metro.net/projects/connector.