Sept. 11, 2014 | Updated 10:47 p.m.
BY CATHY TAYLOR AND DAVID HOOD / WASHINGTON BUREAU
WASHINGTON – Los Angeles was awarded $32.05 million in grants from the federal Department of Transportation that will be used to beautify the planned 1st Central Station and improve the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station, Sen. Dianne Feinstein announced Wednesday.
California received six grants totaling $34.8 million from the department’s Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery Program, or TIGER.
One grant, for $10 million, was announced on Tuesday by Rep. Ed Royce, R-Fullerton. It will be used to help improve a 2-mile stretch of freeway in Diamond Bar where the 57 and 60 converge, creating one of the most accident-prone, congested freeway sections in the state.
“The California projects that are receiving grants from the Transportation Department are critical to modernizing the state’s infrastructure,” Feinstein said in a statement.
The two L.A. projects announced Wednesday are:
• $11.8 million to the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority for the Eastside Access Improvement project, which will create a network of sidewalks and bike lanes for pedestrians and bicyclists to access the new Regional Connector/1st Central Station, set to open in 2020.
• $10.25 million to the Metropolitan Authority to improve the Willowbrook/Rosa Parks Station. This project will lengthen the Metro Blue Line platform, link existing rail, bike and bus facilities and enhance pedestrian and car access.
The Imperial-Wilmington Rosa Parks Station is a major transfer station between the Metro Blue and Green light rail lines and is near the neighborhood of Watts to the north and the King-Drew Medical Center to the south.
The Transportation Department received $9.5 billion in applications for 2014 TIGER grants, 15 times the $600 million set aside for the program. Eligible applications also rose, to 797 from 585 in 2013. Congress authorized the program in 2009 to boost the economic recovery by investing in road, rail, transit and port projects.
“Thanks to our federal partners, this investment in Los Angeles will help us build two critical transportation projects in South L.A. and at our Regional Connector that will help Angelenos connect to other communities by offering a new way to get to where they want to go – quicker, cheaper, and greener – with no traffic,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement to the Register.
Historically, TIGER has been a way cities and metro areas can bypass their states to go directly to the federal government for funds for transit, biking and walking projects – as well as freight projects that haven’t always had a natural home in other federal funding programs, according to Tanya Snyder of StreetsBlog.
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