LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the final approval of a $545.9 million Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan that will enable the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to advance construction of a new light rail transit line along the Crenshaw corridor.
“With today’s loan approval, Angelenos are one step closer to getting the transportation system they want and deserve,” said Mayor Villaraigosa. “This flexible, low interest loan will help us build a vital link in our expanding public transit system.”
The TIFIA program was recently expanded into the largest transportation infrastructure loan program after the passage of the federal surface-transportation bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) in July, 2012. Specifically, the TIFIA program was expanded due to the America Fast Forward portion of the bill, which was championed by Mayor Villaraigosa and a broad coalition of bipartisan Mayors, labor organizations, and business organizations.
“I traveled to Washington, D.C. to push hard for these funds through countless meetings at the White House, at the Capitol, and at the Department of Transportation,” added Mayor Villaraigosa. “This work has clearly paid off and I will to work until the end of my term to ensure Los Angeles can continue to build a 21st Century transportation system.”
On top of this good news, Governor Jerry Brown over the weekend approved AB 1446 by Assembly Member Mike Feuer (D-Los Angeles). The measure would, with voter approval, accelerate Los Angeles County transit and highway projects—like the Crenshaw/LAX line—jumpstarting those projects and getting Angelenos back to work.
Specifically, the bill would authorize the MTA to ask County voters to extend the term of the Measure R sales tax authorization. This extension would enable Metro to bond against future Measure R revenue and build transportation projects much sooner than originally contemplated, relying only on local funds.
If LA County voters approve the extension of Measure R in November Los Angeles could, with the help of America Fast Forward, accelerate vital transit projects including:
• Green Line to LAX (would open 10 years sooner – 2018)
• The Subway to Westwood (would open 13 years sooner – 2023)
• The Green Line extension in the South Bay (would open 17 years sooner – 2018)
• Gold Line to Whittier or El Monte (would open 15 years sooner – 2020)
• A new project in Southeast LA County – the West Santa Ana Branch (would open eight years sooner – 2019)
The Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor project consists of a new 8.5-mile light rail line and at least six new transit stations with off-street parking. The line will connect existing rail service on the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line, which recently opened for service, making it easier for low-income residents, seniors and other riders to reach downtown Los Angeles, the Westside, South Bay and the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo. The project also includes a new transit vehicle maintenance and storage facility.
The Department's Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) program, which provides credit assistance for infrastructure projects, provided the $545.9 million toward the $1.75 billion Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor project. The TIFIA loan was made possible through a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) II grant. Projects were selected based on their ability to contribute to the long-term economic competitiveness of the nation, improve the condition of existing transportation facilities and systems, increase livability and create or preserve jobs quickly.