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L.A. Transit Projects Could get a Boost Under New Obama Rule

The Gold Line Eastside Extension | Photo by STERLINGDAVISPHOTO via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
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The Obama Administration this week made changes to how applications to the federal government's major transportation grant program, New Starts, will be evaluated. For Los Angeles, this could be a game changing move.

On Wednesday, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that a 2005 Bush-era rule prioritizing "'cost-effectiveness' above all other criteria used to determine whether a local transit project can receive federal funds," explained Streetsblog LA. "Cost remains a factor in the 'New Starts' process, but is no longer given more weight than factors such as congestion relief."

Additionally, federal officials seek to add environmental and economic benefits as factors considered in an application. However, this change will not take effect immediately.

“We strongly believe that new transit systems are the most powerful land use and planning tool available to our communities," wrote L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas last year in a letter to Barbara Boxer urging for the change. “Alignment of future transit corridors should give heavy consideration to the ability of these lines to concentrate new private and public investments and economic regeneration activities into districts that have historically been subject to neglect."