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Coming: the Crenshaw/LAX line. Photo by Troy Tieuel
As a result of a combined struggle by elected officials at all levels, the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) came through with $545.9 Million for the Crenshaw/LAX Line
Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the approval of a $545.9 million loan from the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) plan. This announcement will facilitate the advance in construction for MTA (Metropolitan transportation Authority), and Angelenos can anticipate “a new light rail transit line along the Crenshaw corridor” in the foreseeable future.
Now as a result of that funding, the community is much closer to receiving the transportation system we “want and deserve,” a result of the loan approval, Mayor Antonio Villariagosa inferred as he commented on the significance of this expansion to the public transit of Los Angeles. Also in alignment with this achievement, TIFIA became the largest loan program for transportation infrastructure subsequent to the “Moving Ahead for Progress” bill that was passed in July of this year.
Joining the mayor in advocacy are “a broad coalition of bipartisan mayors” labor and business organizations, as stated in the announcement. As a result of hard work in traveling, attending meetings, and “pushing hard for these funds,” the mayor declared his confidence in this accomplishment and is inspired to continue in his dedication to the “21st Century transportation system” of our city.
In addition to this triumph, an initiative proposed by Assembly Member Mike Feuer and approved by Governor Jerry Brown (9AB 1446) was also passed. If voted for by Los Angeles residents, the bill would permit the extension of the Measure R sales tax authorization. The funds generated by Measure R would accelerate the production of Los Angeles transit projects. This would mean that the construction of metro rail lines, including the Crenshaw/LAX line, would come sooner than expected. It would also mean that Metro would be able to rely on local funds as opposed to outside sources for funding.
If Los Angeles voters support Measure R, the initiative will team with America Fast Forward to jumpstart 5 developing metro lines throughout the county.
The TIFIA program was approved for a loan through the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) II grant. Selecting candidates based on their dedication to economic development and competitiveness, TIGER decided to contribute $545.9 million towards the $1.75 billion Crenshaw/LAX transit project. In order to be eligible for the loan, a project had to demonstrate that it would not only improve public transportation but also stimulate job creation, an important element in the resultant construction of the Crenshaw/LAX line.
The Crenshaw /LAX line will offer several amenities to the public. In addition to at least six new transit stations, the 8.5-mile rail line will also feature a new transit vehicle maintenance and storage facility. It will also connect the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line, which transports passengers from downtown Los Angeles, to as far as El Segundo. In addition, the community expects that a Leimert Park Station will also be factored in, as part of the overall master plan of the Crenshaw/LAX line.
Statements from the following elected officials reinforce the expectations of the community.
Congresswoman Waters’ statement:
“I am pleased to see the recent announcement of the $545.9 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan that will enable the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority to move forward on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor project. I still believe that this project should include stations serving the communities of Leimert Park and Westchester. I will continue to work to identify additional sources of funding to finance those additional two stations.”
Congresswoman Karen Bass’ statement:
“I am thrilled to learn that the wait is finally over for funding to advance the construction of the entire Crenshaw and LAX line, and I’d like to congratulate Mayor Villaraigosa, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and the entire L.A. County Board of Supervisors for their unfaltering efforts to acquire this support. The creation of this line is not just about getting residents to their destinations quickly, but rather connecting the people in South L.A. to jobs and other economic opportunities throughout the Los Angeles area. Although this is a great step forward for L.A. transportation projects, we must continue to advocate for funding to secure a station in Leimert Park. I’d also like to thank President Obama and his Administration for its continued commitment to support shovel-ready projects that create jobs and grow local economies. I’m pleased to announce that this light rail line will do just that for people in our neighborhoods, all while advancing the economy to inspire a flourishing community.”
(Congresswoman Bass also extended special thanks President Obama and Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood, who made the announcement).
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ statement:
“The Crenshaw/LAX line is the only project in the region to have received a TIFIA loan. It is my hope and expectation that this massive infusion of federal funds will enhance the light-rail project in such a way that serves the entire region -- speeding passengers to the airport, creating much-needed jobs in the community, and providing the financial flexibility and stability that will see a station located in Leimert Park Village.”