FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 20, 2009 Contact: Aurelio Rojas 213-280-6579
BOARD SUPPORTS SUPERVISOR RIDLEY-THOMAS’ REQUEST TO URGE MTA TO ADDRESS FUNDING CONCERNS RAISED BY MEMBERS OF L.A. COUNTY’S CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION
Letter by 14-member County delegation urges MTA to develop a “more inclusive,
regional and longer-term strategy” to maximize federal funding
LOS ANGELES – Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas today joined a bipartisan coalition of the County’s Congressional delegation in urging the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to develop a “more inclusive, regional and longer-term strategy” to maximize federal funding for new projects, including the Crenshaw/South Bay Transit Corridor.
Acting on his motion, the Board of Supervisors called on the MTA Board to address concerns expressed in a letter that 14 members of Congress sent to the MTA Board earlier today. The Board is scheduled to act Thursday on a Long Range Transportation Plan.
In their letter, the members of Congress noted the County is investing $40 billion in Measure R money over the next 30 years in local transportation. But they expressed concern that the county is “not positioning itself well to receive its fair share” of funding for new projects.
The staff of the MTA has estimated the County should be receiving $200 million in federal funding annually. But in their letters, the members of Congress said the MTA’s current plan puts the County “at risk of being out of the New Starts funding queue for several years.”
“It is highly unlikely that federal funding for the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector Transit Corridor could be allocated through the federal New Starts process in as little as three years, leaving the County without a source of federal funds in the interim,” they warned.
In the letter, the members of Congress warned “it seems extremely short-sighted not to include the Gold Line Foothill Extension, Gold Line Eastside Extension and Crenshaw/South Bay Transit Corridor in Metro’s New Starts funding priority.”
They noted that the Crenshaw/South Bay Transit Corridor, which Supervisor Ridley-Thomas has championed, will provide a major connection with Los Angeles International Airport, connecting the Green and Expo Lines and possibly the Wilshire Corridor, and serving 12,800 to 15,600 riders.
The members of Congress said the Gold Line Foothill Extension project – from Azusa to Montclair – is developed enough to be ready for New Starts funds in the years before the Westside Subway Extension and Regional Connector Transit Corridor. And, they added, the Eastside Extension will improve mobility in the communities east of Los Angeles, which are expected to experience a 30 percent population growth over the next 20 years.
Next month, the MTA Board will vote on the implementation of one of two options for the Crenshaw/South Bay Transit Corridor: Bus Rapid Transit, which will operate in special traffic lanes, or Light Rail Transit. Supervisor Ridley-Thomas supports the Light Rail Transit Option, which he says would be a greener, more efficient mode of transportation.
The letter was signed by Democratic Reps. Adam Schiff, Diane Watson, Linda Sanchez, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Judy Chu, Grace Napolitano, Maxine Waters, Jane Harman and Joe Baca.
“The MTA long range plan does not currently have a strategy to access much-needed federal funds for several years,” Rep. Schiff said. “If the Board does not include theses projects, we leave hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that will be directed elsewhere in the country.”
The Republicans signing the letter were David Drier, Jerry Lewis, Mary Bono Mark, Gary Miller, and Ken Calvert.
“In order to combat gridlock and its effects, we must pursue effective transit alternatives and prioritize our region’s needs,” Rep. Drier said. “We have a broad, bipartisan group of members agreeing on the need to do just that.”
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