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Caltrans awards $301 million to improve transit, air quality

The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) has awarded $301 million to improve public transit in the state, including $149.5 million for the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (LACMTA) Regional Connector project.

Seventy-two projects involve transit service improvements, station modernizations and other public transit upgrades, Caltrans officials said in press release.

"These projects give Californians a viable alternative to using their cars," said Caltrans Director Malcolm Dougherty. "Public transit reduces traffic congestion and protects the environment by lowering greenhouse gas emissions."

LACMTA's connector will link the Metro Gold, Blue and Expo lines, and enable riders to travel from Azusa to Long Beach, and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica, Calif.

Caltrans also awarded $11.4 million to LACMTA to extend light rail 8.5 miles from the intersection of Crenshaw and Exposition boulevards to the Metro Green Line at the Aviation/LAX Station.

The funding comes from Proposition 1B, the 2006 voter-approved transportation bond that is providing $3.6 billion over 10 years to improve public transportation.

Other notable projects awarded Proposition 1B funds by Caltrans include $15.2 million for the South Sacramento light-rail stations, and $9 million for operational costs to acquire additional track, signage and power equipment.

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