Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA) board voted in favor of pursuing long-term funding agreements through the U.S. Department of Transportation to help advance the Westside Subway extension and Regional Connector light-rail line.
The two projects are expected to score highly in rankings necessary to secure Full Funding Grant Agreements (FFGAs) under the Federal Transit Administration’s New Starts program, according to LACMTA. Both projects are both included in California’s Measure R half-cent sales tax measure and LACMTA’s draft long-range transportation plan.
The $4.2 billion Westside Subway extension would be built from the Metro Purple Line’s current terminus at Wilshire/Western Station to Westwood. Measure R funds would be used to match federal dollars. The heavy-rail project currently is in the environmental analysis phase; the board is expected to choose a preferred alignment next year.
The $1.3 billion Regional Connector would connect the existing Metro Gold and Blue light-rail lines through downtown L.A. Projected to receive $160 million in Measure R funds, the project is in the environmental study phase, LACMTA’s board is expected to choose a preferred alignment late next year.
Advancing the projects through the New Starts Program would establish reliable, multi-year funding as early as federal fiscal-year 2012, according to LACMTA.
“These two projects … are our best chance to secure future federal funds, and in so doing, will free up precious local monies for other regionally significant transportation projects,” said LACMTA Chairman Ara Najarian in a prepared statement.
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