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The U.S. Department of Transportation last week announced that it will appropriate $300 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) for two major rail projects. This federal funding, which was made possible by last year's omnibus appropriations bill, will provide $100 million for the Regional Connector project and $200 million for the Westside Purple Line Extension, Metro officials said in a press release.Currently under construction, the Regional Connector project extends from the Metro Gold Line Little Tokyo/Arts district Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station in downtown Los Angeles. The 1.9-mile alignment will allow passengers to transfer to Blue, Expo, red and Purple Lines and bypass Union Station, Metro officials said.The Westside Purple Line Extension project is aimed at providing a high-capacity alternative for commuters traveling between downtown Los Angeles and Westwood, Calif. The project will be built in three phases.Meanwhile, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) last week announced that Caltrain's Peninsula Corridor Electrification Project (PCEP) will receive more than $72 million in prior year funding allocations.Additionally, President Barack Obama has recommended that $125 million be included in the fiscal-year 2017 federal budget to advance the project.The PCEP is the first project in California to be included in the project development phase of the FTA's core capacity program, Caltrain officials said in a press release. The project calls for electrifying Caltrain's system between San Francisco and the Tamien Station in San Jose, Calif., and converting the railroad's diesel-based system to electric multiple units. The project is expected to reduce diesel emissions in the corridor 96 percent by 2040 and increase ridership through more service at more stations, Caltrain officials said.
[Editor's note: This story has been changed since its initial posting.]