A pair of subway projects billed as potential transforming influences on Los Angeles' public transportation system will get $130 million of the $1.1 trillion federal spending bill passed by Congress today, Sen. Dianne Feinstein said.
The grants will be split evenly between the construction of the first leg of the Purple Line Westside Subway Extension to Westwood, and the downtown Regional Connector Transit Project to link up three Metro light rail-lines.
"These two subway projects are key to transforming mass transit for Angelenos, and they have been top priorities of mine for years,'' Feinstein said.
"We're really excited,'' Metro spokeswoman Anna Chen said. "We are really look forward to being able to get started on these projects.''
The $65 million approved today will go toward the first phase of the Purple Line's extension project, also known as the "Subway to the Sea,'' from Wilshire and Western to Wilshire and La Cienega, completing a portion of the full extension to Westwood.
The Regional Connector will get $65 million to connect the Gold Line's Little Tokyo/Arts District Station to the 7th Street/Metro Center Station. The 1.9 mile connection will allow Metro riders to go from Azusa to Long Beach and from East Los Angeles to Santa Monica without needing do a transfer at Union Station.
The earmarks approved today are just the start of more federal funds expected to flow to the two projects, Feinstein said. In the coming months, Metro is expected to finalize agreements that would secure promises from the federal government to provide a total of $670 million for the Regional Connector project and $1.25 billion for the Purple Line Westside Subway Extension.
The two projects are also the first of the Measure R projects to receive federal funds, according to Feinstein.
"Los Angeles is the largest U.S. city without a comprehensive subway system, but Angelenos in 2008 voted to change that, approving Measure R to invest $35 billion over 30 years on the city's transportation system,'' Feinstein said.
Feinstein also is working with Metro to secure loans of $160 million for the Regional Connector and $870 million for the Purple Line Westside Subway Extension through the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act program.