With dozens of projects in Metro’s planning pipeline, agency staff and the Metro Board said they...

With dozens of projects in Metro’s planning pipeline, agency staff and the Metro Board said they selected these projects because they best meet the TIRCP criteria.

Photo: L.A. Metro

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) announced it has submitted a funding application package for three light rail projects to compete for $1.9 billion in supplemental funding from the State of California.

The funding would come from the state’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, also known as TIRCP, according to L.A. Metro's news release. The State is expected to announce project awards on January 31, 2023.

The L.A. Metro Board unanimously voted to submit an application to the State for:

  • $600 million for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, a nine-mile light rail line that will run between the G (Orange) Line’s Van Nuys Station and the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink Station;
  •  $798 million for the L (Gold) Line Foothill Extension Project in the San Gabriel Valley between the future Pomona Station and the city of Montclair. An extension of the L Line between Azusa and Pomona is currently under construction; and
  • $500 million for the West Santa Ana Branch Transit Corridor, a 19.3-mile light rail line between Artesia and the cities and communities of Southeast L.A. County and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles.

“These are transformational projects that will bring faster, more frequent transit and better mobility to important areas of Los Angeles County that are long overdue to receive rail projects,” said Ara J. Najarian, Glendale City Council member. “These projects will also help complete the Metro transit network with better connections to local buses, Metrolink regional rail, jobs, schools, and other important destinations.

With dozens of projects in Metro’s planning pipeline, agency staff and the Metro Board said they selected these projects because they best meet the TIRCP qualifying criteria: state of project readiness; the projects improve transit inequities in vulnerable communities, and the projects already have significant federal and/or local funds committed. 

Securing the TIRCP funds would help Metro keep other state and federal funds that have been committed to these projects. Securing $909 million in federal funds for the East San Fernando Valley project, for example, is contingent on securing state funds, according to Metro.

“These critically important projects will be transformational for Southern California and should be high priorities for this State funding,” said Los Angeles City Council President and Metro Board Member Paul Krekorian. "TIRCP funding for the shovel-ready East San Fernando Valley Light Rail Project alone will leverage nearly $1 billion in federal support. Moreover, this project will service over 30,000 passengers a day in an area that is disadvantaged and underserved, and it will undoubtedly be an impetus for significant economic opportunity. The two million people of the San Fernando Valley, who have virtually no access to Metro rail transit, deserve this state investment in their future.”

The TIRCP funding would supplement local funding for these projects from the Measures R and M local sales taxes approved by L.A. County voters in 2008 and 2016, respectively. Metro has a history of winning grants – including $1.5 billion in state grants for 11 projects between 2015 and 2021, more than $4 billion to build the Purple (D Line) Extension of the subway now under construction, and $670 million for the Regional Connector rail tunnel in downtown L.A. that will open next year and will link the A (Blue), E (Expo) and L Lines.

As part of the last Board meeting, Metro staff was directed to bring a funding plan to the Metro Board in February on strategies to fill any remaining funding gaps for these projects. 

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