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4/29/2005



Rail News: Rail Industry Trends

L.A. MTA OKs funding plan for Exposition light-rail project



Yesterday, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA MTA) approved a $640 million funding plan for the Exposition Light Rail Transit Line, which would run from downtown Los Angeles to Venice/Robertson boulevards in Culver City.

The authority plans to use a variety of local and federal funds instead of New Starts monies complete the project by 2010.

LA MTA will use $127.5 million in federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement funds, $90.3 million in Proposition C transit-related highway funds, $9.8 million in federal Transportation Enhancement Activities (TEA) funds, $15 million in other federal discretionary funds, and up to $50 million in local contributions from cities and private stakeholders along the route.

The money would be used with the authority’s existing funding agreements for the project, including $87.5 million in CMAQ funds, $240.9 million in proposition C transit-related highway funds, $3.8 million in federal TEA funds, $4.2 million in Proposition C commuter rail/transit center funds and $11 million in state Traffic Congestion Relief Program.

"In recent years, the nationwide competition for federal New Starts funding has grown considerably and the Federal Transit Administration’s evaluation process for this funding has become very time consuming," said Rick Thorpe, LA MTA’s chief capital management officer in a prepared statement. "This new funding plan allows us to complete the project and bring relief to one of the county’s most congested corridors three to five years sooner."

Now, authority officials plan to issue a Final Environmental Impact Statement and obtain project approval from the Federal Transit Administration.

Construction on the 9.6-mile, eight-station line could begin in early 2006. The line will operate from downtown L.A. using the same tracks as the Metro Blue Line before splitting off to operate along Exposition Boulevard, which runs parallel to Interstate 10. In the future, LA MTA might extend the line to Santa Monica.



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