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Congressmen Urge Metro to Include Foothill Extension in Long Range Plan

Lack of MTA Action Could Cost County Hundreds of Millions in Federal Funding

A bipartisan coalition of fourteen Members of Congress wrote to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors requesting that the board include three local rail projects in its long range transportation plan. The letter, spearheaded by Representatives Adam Schiff (CA-29), David Dreier (CA-26), Judy Chu (CA-32), and Grace Napolitano (CA-38) calls on the Metro Transit Authority (MTA) to include the Gold Line Foothill Extension, Gold Line Eastside Extension Phase II and Crenshaw/South Bay Transit Corridor in Metro’s New Starts funding priority list.

The three projects could potentially bring hundreds of millions of federal dollars to Los Angeles, which would create jobs and help reduce congestion. If these projects are not included in Metro’s New Starts funding priority list, Los Angeles might not be eligible for federal New Starts funds for years to come.

“The MTA long range plan does not currently have a strategy to access much-needed federal funds for several years,” said Rep. Schiff. “If the Board does not include these projects, we leave hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that will be directed elsewhere in the country. At a time when our unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation, the MTA Board cannot afford to overlook the economic imperative to include these projects in its long range plan and bring dollars and jobs to the region.”

“Regardless of where you live in southern California, traffic congestion and air quality impact your quality of life,” said Rep. Dreier. ‘In order to combat gridlock and its effects, we must pursue effective transit alternatives and prioritize our entire region’s needs.  We have a broad, bipartisan group of

Members agreeing on the need to do just that.  It’s our hope that the MTA Board will join us in moving forward to help secure the federal resources needed to create jobs and invest in an infrastructure that works for all southern Californians.”

“We need a federal strategy that truly leverages the billions of dollars being raised by Measure R and gives the county the most bang for its buck,” said Rep. Chu. “If the Gold Line Foothill and East Side extensions and Crenshaw Line are excluded from entering the federal process, myself and the rest of the local Congressional Delegation will very literally have our hands tied from helping meet our community’s transit needs.”

Rep. Jerry Lewis (CA-41) the Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee as well as other Members throughout the region cosigned the letter. The other cosigners included Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34), Rep. Mary Bono Mack (CA-45), Rep. Diane Watson (CA-33), Rep. Maxine Waters (CA-35), Rep. Gary Miller (CA-42), Rep. Ken Calvert (CA-44), Jane Harman (CA-36), Joe Baca (CA-43) and Linda Sanchez (CA-39).

October 22, 2009

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