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Where's that stimulus money going?

February 25, 2009 |  8:00 pm

With the economic stimulus package now signed into law by President Obama, a picture of how some of the money may be spent locally is beginning to emerge on the transit front.

A report by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to the agency's board spells out how much money the county may get -- $850 million to $950 million -- and suggests where some of it could go, pending necessary local, state and/or federal approvals. Here's a link to the staff report.

It's a long list of projects that may qualify for funding from the bill, with a lot of smaller projects that fall solidly under the label "most un-sexy." For example, Cerritos would like a new four-lane bridge over Coyote Creek, Long Beach has several bike lane improvements in mind and the city of L.A. would like to do some pedestrian enhancements on several streets. Local transit agencies could see millions of dollars -- a good thing considering the state Legislature just cut funding for them in their budget deal last week.

There are also some big ticket items. Most notably, the MTA wants to pursue securing $150 million for both the first phase of the Expo Line and the planned Foothill Extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa. Other big projects that could potentially receive federal money include the carpool lane that Caltrans wants to build on the 405 between the 10 and 101, the carpool lane on the 5 Freeway between the 170 and 118, and a plan to rebuild subway and Blue Line light rail cars. That last one could cost $350 million.

The most eye-catching item on the list? That would be the $5.3 million for preliminary work on developing a positive train control system for Metrolink. That's the advanced GPS system that is supposed to find the location of passenger and freight trains throughout Southern California and prevent them from colliding.

The MTA board is scheduled to talk about the list Thursday at its regular meeting.

--Steve Hymon

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