Federal Government Approves $670 Million Grant, $160 Million Loan for Regional Connector

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From left: Former Metro Board member Richard Katz, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Santa Monica Mayor and Metro Board member Pam O’Connor, L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board member Paul Krekorian, Metro Board member Jackie Dupont-Walker, FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan, Duarte Councilmember and Metro Board member John Fasana, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas, Lakewood Councilmember and Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois, Supervisor and Metro Board member Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board member Mike Bonin, and Metro CEO Art Leahy. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro)

From left: Former Metro Board member Richard Katz, Rep. Xavier Becerra, Santa Monica Mayor and Metro Board member Pam O’Connor, L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board member Paul Krekorian, Metro Board member Jackie Dupont-Walker, FTA Deputy Administrator Therese McMillan, Duarte Councilmember and Metro Board member John Fasana, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti, L.A. County Supervisor and Metro Board member Mark Ridley-Thomas, Lakewood Councilmember and Metro Board Chair Diane DuBois, Supervisor and Metro Board member Zev Yaroslavsky, L.A. Councilmember and Metro Board member Mike Bonin, and Metro CEO Art Leahy. (Photo by Juan Ocampo/Metro)

Metro joined federal, state and local elected officials next to the Gold Line’s Little Tokyo station on Feb. 20 to announce the receipt of a Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA) from the Federal Transit Administration in the amount of $670 million to fund the $1.37 billion Regional Connector Project.

“This agreement from the federal government to provided critical funding for this important gap in the regional system paves the way for major construction to begin later this year on the Regional Connector project,” said Metro Board Chair and Lakewood Councilmember Diane DuBois.

“This is an extremely important project that will benefit the entire region by connecting the Blue and Gold Lines through downtown Los Angeles offering passengers a one-seat ride from Pasadena to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica.”

The Regional Connector Project completes a 1.9-mile gap between the Metro Blue Line and the Metro Gold Line by providing a direct connection with three new stations planned for First Street/Central Avenue, Second Street/Broadway and Second Place/Hope Street in downtown Los Angeles.

“I was pleased to lead the charge earlier this year to ensure that Congress provided $130 million for the Regional Connector and the Purple Line Extension to the Westside,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.). “These funds are part of a longer-term financial agreement to bring $670 million in federal grants and a $160 million low-interest federal TIFIA loan to Los Angeles Metro.

“I would also like to acknowledge the voters of Los Angeles County, who wisely voted in 2008 to support Measure R, which is leveraging the federal grants and loans from which the city and its residents will benefit.”

“Bringing our lines together to make transfers easier is a common sense solution that will dramatically improve the rider experience,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Vice Chair Eric Garcetti.  “I want to thank our partners in Washington for helping make sure Los Angeles gets its fair share for our critical transportation projects. This federal funding, combined with the Measure R funding we already have, is critical to expanding our transit system and cutting traffic.”

The Regional Connector Project is an important rail connection project overwhelmingly approved by the voters and funded by the Measure R half-cent sales tax ordinance for L.A. County transportation improvements. The FFGA with the federal government now secures completion of the project.

“By committing $670 million to the Regional Connector, the federal government becomes a true partner in helping Angelenos build world-class transit, create local jobs, and spur the region’s economy,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Los Angeles), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.

“When Angelenos approved Measure R in 2008, they made a solid investment in changing the way people moved throughout Los Angeles. The Regional Connector is a critical part of making that vision a reality. It is a prime example of how we return our federal tax dollars to our community for local projects that generate jobs and economic growth.”

The Regional Connector Project, expected to be completed in 2020, will attract nearly 17,000 new daily riders and provide access to more than 88,000 passengers, saving commuters up to 20 minutes off their daily commutes. It will provide a one-set, one-fare ride for commuters from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without the need to transfer between rail lines for major east/west and north/south trips.

“When the 1.9-mile Regional Connector is completed, transit riders from my district in East Los Angeles will be able to travel to the west side without transferring from one line to another,” said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Los Angeles). “This will save time, improve cross county connections and make transit a more attractive and seamless transportation option for Angelenos.

“However, even before the line opens, my constituents and our communities will also benefit from the signing of this agreement because it will provide critically needed, good-paying jobs during construction and then during operations. While our nation continues its economic recovery, these jobs will employ our residents, beat back unacceptably high unemployment rates, and produce a quality ‘Made in America’ transportation system.

“Jobs today and transit tomorrow. That’s a great combination! I hope that more Angelenos will get out of their cars and try a more stress-free ride to their destination on our ever-growing rail system.”

The new Metro Rail extension will offer an alternative transportation option to congested roadways, provide significant environmental benefits and spur economic development throughout the county. Through improved connectivity, riders will be better able to use the entire Metro Rail system, municipal bus lines and other regional transportation services.

“The Regional Connector has been a long time coming so I’m very pleased that Metro secured the federal funding necessary to make it materialize,” said L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina. “Once completed, Gold Line riders will be able to travel from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without transferring lines. It’s a major step in transforming Los Angeles County’s mass transit network into a truly world-class system.

“East Los Angeles is the fifth-most densely populated community in the entire continental U.S., and this important project will finally ensure the Eastside is connected to the rest of L.A. County’s light-rail network.”

In addition to the FFGA, the U.S. Department of Transportation has granted Metro a loan of $160 million for the Regional Connector Project from a Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Loan (TIFIA) to complete the funding package for the project.

For more information about the regional Connector project, visit http://metro.net/projects/connector.

In addition, stay informed by following The Source and El Pasajero at http://metro.net or www.facebook.com/losangelesmetro.

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