The US Senate passed a $109 billion transportation bill yesterday that includes mucho money for Mayor Villaraigosa's "America Fast Forward" program (formerly 30/10), which provides federal loans for local transit projects. In LA's case, the money would speed up transit and freeway projects planned under Measure R, the 2008 County-approved tax initiative. LA would pay back the loans with the Measure R taxes that will trickle in over the course of 30 years. The extension of the Purple Line subway on Wilshire could get a shot in the ass, reports the Los Angeles Times, and possibly open to Westwood much earlier than the planned 2036. Other projects that could get a boost are the LAX-adjacent Crenshaw Line (scheduled to open in 2018 without AFF), the Regional Connector project that will link the Gold, Blue, and Expo Lines in Downtown, the Gold Line (possibly helping it reach Montclair or Ontario and El Monte or Whittier), and the mysterious transit line down the 405, which could either be a train or a busway--Metro is seeking $3 billion to advance these projects through AFF, which should provide about $20 billion nationally.
The loan program is expected to survive the final version of the Senate bill as it's seen as a job creator and is supported by Senator Barbara Boxer. The House, meanwhile, is under pressure to pass their version of the bill as the government's ability to collect gas taxes will lapse by the end of the month if new legislation is not enacted. More projects could get greenlit (extending Crenshaw Line to WeHo, linking the Green Line to Metrolink, etc.) if the County passes another Measure R-like tax, which is being proposed.
· Senate OKs transportation bill with help for L.A. area [LA Times]
· America Fast Forward Archives [Curbed LA]