The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced today that it was awarded a $15 million United States Department of Transportation (DOT) Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Act (TIGER) VII grant for construction of the Rail to Rail Active Transportation Corridor Connector Project.
The Rail to Rail project will transform a 6.4 mile stretch of minimally active Metro-owned rail right of way called the Harbor Subdivision into a bicycle and pedestrian path. The project parallels South L.A.’s Slauson Avenue connecting the future Metro Crenshaw/LAX Line’s Fairview Heights Station with the Metro Silver Line at the I-110 freeway and the Metro Blue Line Station, ending at Santa Fe Avenue.
“With this investment, Angelenos will be able to efficiently access the Blue Line and the future Crenshaw/LAX Line,” Los Angeles County Supervisor and Metro Board Chairman Mark Ridley-Thomas said. .
“The proposed improvements will make a meaningful difference in the quality of life of the hundreds of thousands of people who live, work and visit the surrounding areas.”
Metro will contribute up to $19.3 million in local and state money to fund the $34.3 million transportation development.
“Metro’s application achieved the goals of connecting neighborhoods and helping communities coordinate innovative, multi-modal transportation projects that serve the diverse travel needs of residents and businesses,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez.
Metro has owned the right of way for the Harbor Subdivision since the early 1990s. Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) railroad has operating easements, but rarely runs trains along those tracks. Metro will initiate an abandonment process to transfer the BNSF easements.
“Metro has already successfully repurposed little-used or abandoned rights-of-ways into bicycle and pedestrian routes, notably the Metro Orange Line, the Bellflower Bike Trail and the Chandler Bikeway in Burbank, and Rail to Rail will bring similar benefits to South L.A. residents.” said Metro CEO Phillip A. Washington.
The Rail to Rail corridor is home to about 108,000 residents and has a population density more than six times the county average. Over two-thirds of the area residents are minority; more than one-fifth of the households within ½ mile of the project corridor do not own a vehicle and 16.8 percent of the area workers commute to work via public transit, bicycle and/or walking.
The DOT TIGER grant program is highly competitive with projects in all 50 states and U.S. territories competing for $500 million in total grants.