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Feds Announce Support for Subway to the Sea & 30/10 Project

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Photo by Non Paratus via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

Photo by Non Paratus via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
The chances of a stronger public transit system in Los Angeles took a big step today when U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced federal support for plans to bring a subway down Wilshire Boulevard and of the region's 30/10 plan, which would build 12 transit projects in 10 years.

“Secretary LaHood understands the opportunity to make the 30/10 vision a reality here and around the country," said Senator Barbara Boxer, who heads up the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. "The Secretary is also working with me on finding every opportunity under current law so we can accelerate 30/10 now."

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 30/10 program would take 30 years-worth of Measure R sales tax funding and build 12 transit projects in 10 years -- that's instead of the 30 years under the current plan -- with the help of a loan from the federal government that would be paid back by Metro.

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"DOT’s decision to expedite consideration of the Subway to the Sea is a great step forward," Boxer continued," and will help ensure that as we work to accelerate funding, DOT will work to have this project ready.”

The support doesn't necessarily translate to guaranteed funding -- this is a pledge to find ways to make 30/10, a type of loan process not tried out before, happen. "I can assure you that the U.S. Department of Transportation is committed to working with you to explore this promising approach in the next transportation reauthorization bill," wrote LaHood in a letter to Boxer. He said 30/10 could be a model for funding transportation projects across the country.

Today's announcement also means the Federal Transit Agency "has agreed to accelerate consideration of the Red Line Westside Extension - also known as 'Subway to the Sea' - by admitting the entire 9.3-mile project into its preliminary engineering process, and by conducting the environmental review of all segments of the project simultaneously instead of doing it in multiple phases," according to Metro.