LOS ANGELES – The U.S Department of Transportation’s Acting Federal Transit Administrator (FTA) Therese McMillan today participated in the groundbreaking of the 3.9-mile Westside Purple Line Section 1 Extension that will expand transit options in one of the most congested corridors in Los Angeles County. Acting Administrator McMillan was joined by Senator Dianne Feinstein, Rep. Henry Waxman, Rep. Karen Bass, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, and other local officials.
“Today, Los Angeles takes another step forward in its efforts to improve public transportation, provide better opportunities to area residents, and reduce gridlock,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Congress needs to pass the GROW AMERICA Act so that towns, cities, and rural areas all over the country can enjoy the benefits of much-needed investments in transit, roads, and bridges.”
If Congress were to pass the GROW AMERICA Act, California transit agencies would receive nearly $2.0 billion in federal formula transportation funds in FY 2015. The funding level included in the reauthorization proposal and President’s FY 2015 budget represents a $700 million increase over the amount provided in FY 2014. The 57 percent increase would help Los Angeles and the state as a whole to carry out much needed capital transit improvements and enhancements.
The Westside Purple Line Section 1 Extension – the first of three planned extensions of the Metro Purple Line subway – is expected to improve travel times and transit capacity from Beverly Hills to downtown Los Angeles, North Hollywood, Union Station, and other Los Angeles County communities. The project includes three new underground stations and the purchase of 34 new heavy rail vehicles to augment the existing fleet. The project’s sponsor, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LACMTA), estimates that project construction will create more than 22,000 jobs. The extension is expected to open in 2024 and provide more than 20,000 trips daily.
“The Purple Line extension will help the people of Los Angeles reach jobs and housing along Wilshire Boulevard and beyond, improving access to one of the most congested areas in the region,” said FTA Acting Administrator McMillan. “Expanding the capacity of L.A. County’s transit system is critical for supporting population growth and economic development for decades to come.”
LACMTA will receive $2.1 billion in federal grants and loan agreements toward the estimated $2.8 billion Westside Purple Line Extension project. The federal funding includes $1.25 billion in construction grant funds from FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts); $856 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan program; and $12.2 million in other DOT and FTA funds. The remainder will be funded by state and local sources.
FTA is advancing two other major transit expansion projects in the Los Angeles metropolitan area: the $1.4 billion Regional Connector linking the Blue, Gold, and Exposition light rail lines in downtown Los Angeles, which was approved for a $670 million FTA construction grant agreement, $64 million in other FTA funds, and a $160 million TIFIA loan in February; and the $2.1 billion Crenshaw/LAX light rail transit corridor project, which broke ground in January, and is funded in part with a $545.9 million TIFIA loan and approximately $117 million in other FTA and DOT funds.