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L.A. plans for more rail lines gets a boost in Washington

June 5, 2010 |  8:13 am

L.A. got some good news this week in its effort to fast track some major transportation projects.

On Friday, officials announced that Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood had expressed support for L.A.'s fast-track plans and saw them as a potential model for other transportation projects.

"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," LaHood wrote in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Besides the proposed Westside subway, other projects Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hopes to speed up include a long-sought rail extension to Los Angeles International Airport, a Crenshaw Boulevard line, a Gold Line extension through the San Gabriel Valley and busways in the San Fernando Valley.

Villaraigosa said that any money Washington advanced to L.A. would be repaid from the $40 billion projected to be generated over the next 30 years from a half-cent sales tax approved by county voters last year -- a selling point that has resonated with lawmakers.

--Shelby Grad

Map credit: L.A. Times