Federal loan to speed up Crenshaw/LAX rail project

Image shows southern portion of proposed route of Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor.
Image shows southern portion of proposed route of Crenshaw/LAX transit corridor. metro.net

A $546 million federal loan will enable the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to begin building an 8.5-mile light rail line from the Crenshaw District to near LAX next spring, it was announced today.

The new light rail line will allow direct train service from downtown Los Angeles to an LAX transit center within the next six years. Passenger trains will use the soon-to-open Exposition Line tracks past USC to Crenshaw Boulevard, then head southwest on 8.5 miles of new tracks through Leimert Park
and Inglewood to link with existing Green Line tracks near the airport.

The federal loan will be repaid by a half-cent sales tax increase, approved by Los Angeles County voters in 2008 to pay for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor project, and several other local funds. With the federal loan, Metro will be able to break ground several years earlier than first planned.

"This (federal) money allows the funds generated by Measure R (the 2008 ballot measure) to be leveraged many times over so that projects can be realized years sooner than would otherwise be possible,'' Senator Barbara Boxer said in a teleconference to announce the funding.

Metro chief executive Art Leahy said that project was originally expected to be completed sometime after 2020. With the federal loan -- which would have to be repaid with Measure R revenues at about a 3.5-percent interest rate -- the project should be completed within the next five to six years, he said.

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