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The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) yesterday announced $75 million in grant funds would be awarded to extend the Metrolink 91 commuter-rail line from Riverside to Perris, Calif.The agency is committing the funding to the Riverside County Transportation Commission through FTA's Small Starts Capital Investment grant program, FTA officials said in a press release.FTA's Small Starts grant represents about 30 percent of the project's total cost of $248 million. The project also received about $63 million in other funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation, with the remaining cost covered by state and local sources.The extension is expected to draw 4,300 riders daily, which would help reduce traffic on Interstate-215 in Southern California."Bringing more good transportation options to residents in Southern California is vitally important to improving the quality of life in one of the state's most congested corridors," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.The 24-mile Perris Valley Line will serve the communities of Alessandro, Moreno Valley and Perris, and improve transit options for commuters east and south of downtown Riverside. It includes the construction of four new stations along the route with parking at Riverside Hunter Park, Moreno Valley/March Field, Perris, and South Perris. On weekdays, Metrolink serves more than 44,000 riders, over three-quarters of whom commuted by car before adopting transit, according to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority, which operates Metrolink.The extension is expected to be completed by December 2015.
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