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Metro to Seek Federal Funding for Westside Subway & Regional Connector

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At the Pershing Square Station | Photo by delara-photos via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr


At the Pershing Square Station | Photo by delara-photos via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
The Metro board yesterday directed staff to apply for federal grants in hopes of capturing start-up money for the a subway to UCLA and a the regional connector in downtown.

If built, the $4.2 billion, 8.7-mile extension of the Purple Line subway down Wilshire Boulevard would bring an estimated 49,000 to 75,000 boardings a day to the rail system. If the board chooses the more expensive plan that includes a line down Santa Monica Blvd., systemwide boardings could go up by 115,000.

The Regional Connector would connect three light rail lines by building 1.7 miles of track between First/Alameda and 7th/Figueroa in downtwon Los Angeles. Commuters would be spared from up to two additional transfers, which would save an estimated 12 to 20 minutes each way. Officials say the project would generate 16,000 new systemwide boardings a day.

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"The Board’s decision to select the two local rail projects and advance those projects in the New Starts Program could establish reliable, multi-year funding as early as the federal Fiscal Year 2012," explains Metro in a press release. "Over the past six years, for example, the agency has received an average of $80 million per year in federal rail funding through the New Starts program."

If money is not secured through these grants, local monies would have to be used, making the projects "difficult to accomplish."

Despite the move to secure federal funding, it does not mean the projects are approved. Both are included in the draft Long Range Transportation Plan, which is expected to be vote on in future meetings.

Related: California to Ask for $4.5 Billion in High Speed Rail Stimulus Funds