A coalition of community-based organizations partnered with the city of Los Angeles, LA Metro, and Los Angeles Trade-Technical College to secure a $35 million Transformative Climate Communities (TCC) grant from the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to improve environmental conditions and reduce pollution in South LA, according to LADOT's news release.
This funding combines with $24.6 million in funding from LA Metro, the City of Los Angeles, and other sources to support the South LA Eco-Lab, which is a project to facilitate economic development through climate action within the project area to achieve the community’s vision for a socially inclusive, sustainable, green community resilient to climate change.
“South Los Angeles is the heart of LA, and this investment will set our sights on what tomorrow should look like in a community with big dreams for the future,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This grant is a big step toward building the South LA that residents have envisioned for years – with improved quality of life, public health, and access to economic opportunity.”
The California EPA has identified South LA as one of the most polluted areas in the state. The South LA Eco-Lab project area includes 3.9 square miles bordered by Vernon Avenue, 60th Street, Western Ave, and Central at its northern, southern, western, and eastern limits respectively. According to the news release, 60% of the population in this area lives below the poverty level, one-in-three are unemployed, nearly half experience severe housing cost burdens, and approximately one-in-five individuals rely on active modes of transportation (walking, wheeling, or taking transit).
“The South LA Eco Lab project is an example of what can happen when we let communities lead and identify the projects that best meet their needs,” said Connie Llanos, interim GM of LADOT. “This grant helps us expand on our commitment to deliver Universal Basic Mobility for South LA and ensure much-needed improvements for local residents including safer streets, cleaner air, and more options to get where they need to go reliably and affordably.”
With a final project budget of nearly $60 million, the South LA Eco-Lab will invest in infrastructure projects such as LADOT Stress Free connections and EV Car Share, StreetsLA Cool Pavement projects, home solar installation through GRID Alternatives, street trees, and school greening providing open space and stormwater capture benefits.
Funding for the project will begin in 2023, with a project completion date of 2028 when Los Angeles will host the 2028 Olympic Summer games.