THE FED­ERAL TRAN­SIT AD­MIN­IS­TRA­TION

The Bond Buyer - - Front Page - By Brian TumulTy

an­nounced Wed­nes­day the award of $281 mil­lion in fund­ing for five mass tran­sit projects in Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Min­ne­sota, and Texas . . . . . .

WASH­ING­TON – The Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion an­nounced Wed­nes­day the award of $281 mil­lion in fund­ing for five mass tran­sit projects in Ari­zona, Cal­i­for­nia, Min­ne­sota, and Texas.

FTA, how­ever, has not yet awarded $760 mil­lion of the $2.62 bil­lion Con­gress set aside from th­ese tran­sit grants in fis­cal 2018 al­most two months af­ter the end of the bud­get year.

The Amer­i­can Pub­lic Trans­porta­tion As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents lo­cal tran­sit agen­cies, said it was “pleased” by the an­nounce­ment that FTA was award­ing some of the Cap­i­tal In­vest­ment Grant funds.

“APTA en­cour­ages the FTA to al­lo­cate the re­main­ing CIG funds that were ap­pro­pri­ated by Con­gress,” said spokes­woman Vir­ginia Miller.

FTA said all five of the new grants were ap­proved af­ter the projects ei­ther com­pleted or en­tered the process of “com­plet­ing the rig­or­ous CIG pro­gram steps as out­lined in law.”

“FTA con­tin­ues to eval­u­ate and ad­vance projects in the CIG pro­gram, con­sid­er­ing each project on its in­di­vid­ual mer­its while demon­strat­ing good gov­er­nance con­sis­tent with dis­cre­tion af­forded in fed­eral law,” FTA Act­ing Ad­min­is­tra­tor K. Jane Wil­liams said in a press re­lease.

PUR­PLE LINE

The largest of the new grants cov­ers $100 mil­lion of the re­quested $1.3 bil­lion in fed­eral fund­ing for the over­all $3.7 bil­lion cost of con­struct­ing sec­tion 3 ex­ten­sion of the Los An­ge­les West­side Pur­ple line.

The 2.6-mile ex­ten­sion be­tween Cen­tury City and the Vet­er­ans Af­fairs hos­pi­tal in­cludes two sta­tions.

The first two of the three sec­tions of the Pur­ple Line ex­ten­sion are cur­rently un­der con­struc­tion. Sec­tion 3 is not ex­pected to be put into ser­vice un­til 2028.

The sec­ond Cal­i­for­nia grant is $80 mil­lion for the San Diego Mid-Coast Cor­ri­dor Light Rail project be­tween down­town San Diego and the Univer­sity City area.

The 10.92-mile light rail ex­ten­sion re­ceived ap­proval from FTA in 2017 for a $1.04 bil­lion grant over 10 years cov­er­ing nearly half of the $2.17 bil­lion cost.

Rev­enue from Tran­sNet, a coun­ty­wide half-cent sales tax for trans­porta­tion, will cover half of the to­tal project.

San Diego area of­fi­cials said Thurs- day the sec­ond-year fed­eral al­lo­ca­tion for the project in 2017 was $50 mil­lion rather than the ex­pected $125 mil­lion. The $80 mil­lion pro­vided Wed­nes­day ful­fills the $125 mil­lion fed­eral fund­ing com­mit­ment for FY 2017, and also pro­vides an ad­di­tional $5 mil­lion that will save on long-term bor­row­ing costs.

“We’ve been push­ing hard for ad­di­tional trans­porta­tion fund­ing for the Mid-Coast Trol­ley ex­ten­sion to cre­ate a more vi­brant tran­sit net­work for the San Diego re­gion,” said Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer.

“This sup­port from the Fed­eral Tran­sit Ad­min­is­tra­tion will help us de­liver one of the largest and most sig­nif­i­cant tran­sit projects in San Diego his­tory on time and on bud­get.

“It will also save lo­cal tax­pay­ers mil­lions of dol­lars that can be used for other crit­i­cal trans­porta­tion up­grades.” ◽

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