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10/12/2011



Rail News: Passenger Rail

L.A., Baltimore transit lines among Obama administration's expedited infrastructure projects


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Yesterday, the Obama administration announced 14 infrastructure projects — including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (LACMTA) Crenshaw/LAX line and Baltimore’s Red Line — will be expedited through permitting and environmental review processes.

The announcement is part of the administration’s efforts to speed up federal reviews of job-creating infrastructure projects, according to a statement from the White House press office.

In August, President Obama issued a memorandum directing federal agencies to expedite environmental reviews and permit decisions for a selection of high-priority public infrastructure projects that will create a significant number of jobs. The selected projects have identified necessary funding, need major steps taken before construction, are within the control and jurisdiction of the federal government, and can be completed in 18 months, White House officials said.

LACMTA’s Crenshaw/LAX project would extend the light-rail system’s Green Line closer to Los Angeles International Airport and connect it to the Expos Line. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is providing additional targeted technical assistance to shorten the approval time for the project by several months. In addition, the FTA and LACMTA plan to pilot the FTA’s new streamlined risk assessment approval for major transit projects to ensure that risks and associated mitigation measures are identified and addressed promptly.

The 14-mile Red Line in Baltimore would connect western suburbs to downtown, the Inner Harbor and Fells Point areas, and John Hopkins Bay View Medical Center Campus.

The Red Line has “many outstanding permitting issues that will require substantial cooperation between a number of resource and other federal agencies,” White House officials said. “By engaging in early negotiations with all necessary federal agencies and optimizing coordination amongst the agencies, this project will begin construction earlier than currently planned, potentially reducing the project timeline by two years.”



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