Dept. of Transportation Announces $22 Million in Funds for Metro Improvements

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U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez was in Los Angeles on Sept. 13 to announce that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority has been awarded two TIGER grants totaling $22.05 million to modernize the busy Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station on the Blue Line and improve bicycle and pedestrian access in Little Tokyo.

The projects are among 72 transportation projects selected to receive a total of $600 million in 46 states and the District of Columbia from the Department of Transportation’s 2014 TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Program, which Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced on Sept. 12.

“As uncertainty about the future of long-term federal funding continues, this round of TIGER will be a shot in the arm for these innovative, job-creating and quality of life-enhancing projects,” said Foxx. “As the population of California’s largest city continues to grow, it is imperative that we invest in transit projects like these to ensure that all Angelenos can participate in the life of this city and have an opportunity to join the middle class.

“For every project we select, however, we must turn dozens more away – projects that could be getting done if Congress passed the GROW AMERICA (Generating Renewal, Opportunity, and Work with Accelerated Mobility, Efficiency, and Rebuilding of Infrastructure and Communities throughout America) Act, which would double the funding available for TIGER and growing the number of projects we could support.”

“These TIGER grants reflect the department’s ongoing commitment to help greater Los Angeles bring more good transportation options to one of the most congested metropolitan regions in the United States,” said Mendez. “The TIGER Program is ideally suited to projects like these that leverage transportation as a means strengthening communities and creating new opportunities for thousands of residents.”

The TIGER funds will support two separate projects in Los Angeles County. One grant invests $10.25 million toward the estimated $53 million renovation and modernization of the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, the city’s fourth-busiest station, serving over 22,000 passengers daily.

The station will undergo a series of improvements, including relocating the bus terminal to be closer to the Blue Line; extending the station platform; constructing new pedestrian pathways; and building a new community plaza.

The second grant, farther downtown in Little Tokyo, provides $11.8 million in TIGER funds toward the $17 million Eastside Access Improvement project, which will bring new crosswalks, bicycle lanes, and streetscaping to improve access to Union Station and existing Metro bus and rail connections — while making the area safer for walking and biking.

These improvements will also support the planned Regional Connector light rail system that connects the Little Tokyo and Arts District communities to a variety of Los Angeles destinations.

“We congratulate the citizens of Los Angeles, who are big winners in obtaining these highly competitive TIGER grant funds,” said Federal Transit Administration Acting Administrator Therese McMillan. “These projects will support L.A.’s ongoing efforts to improve access to efficient, reliable public transportation throughout the region and ensure that hard-working families can reach jobs, school, health care, and take advantage of all the region has to offer.”

The GROW AMERICA Act, the Obama Administration’s surface transportation reauthorization proposal, would authorize $5 billion over four years for much-needed additional TIGER funding to help meet the overwhelming demand for significant infrastructure investments around the country and provide the certainty that states and local governments need to properly plan for investment.

The $302 billion, four-year transportation reauthorization proposal would provide increased and stable funding for the nation’s highways, bridges, transit, and rail systems without contributing to the deficit. The act also includes several critical program reforms to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of federal highway, rail, and transit programs.

The department received 797 eligible applications from 49 states, U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, an increase from the 585 applications received in 2013. Overall, applicants requested 15 times the $600 million available for the program, or $9.5 billion for needed transportation projects.

Since 2009, the TIGER program has provided nearly $4.1 billion to 342 projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Demand for the program has been overwhelming, and during the previous five rounds, the department received more than 6,000 applications requesting more than $124 billion for transportation projects across the country.

Congress provided the most recent funding as part of the bipartisan Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, signed by President Obama on Jan. 17.

Click here for additional information on individual TIGER grants.

Click here for additional information on the Department of Transportation’s 2014 TIGER Program.

Click here for additional information on the GROW AMERICA Act.

regional connector map

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