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Federal loan approved for Crenshaw corridor train connecting Downtown to LAX

By Hayley Fox
Published: Tuesday, October 02, 2012, at 10:40AM

Downtowners will soon be able to get to the airport via Metro trains.

A light-rail line that will connect downtown L.A. to LAX by traveling through the Crenshaw corridor inches closer to construction this week, after the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) approved a $545.9-million loan for the project.

“I traveled to Washington, D.C. to push hard for these funds through countless meetings at the White House, at the Capitol, and at the Department of Transportation," said Mayor Villaraigosa in a statement. "This work has clearly paid off and I will to work until the end of my term to ensure Los Angeles can continue to build a 21st Century transportation system.”

The federal loan for the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor is a TIFIA loan -- a program that was expanded this summer to provide financial help to significant, regional transportation projects.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said in a statement that the Crenshaw line is the only project in the region to have been allotted one of these loans.

“It is my hope and expectation that this massive infusion of federal funds will enhance the light-rail project in such a way that serves the entire region — speeding passengers to the airport, creating much-needed in the community, and providing the financial flexibility and stability that will see a station located in Leimert Park Village,” said Ridley-Thomas.

The new 8.5-mile train line will serve multiple cities within the county as well as a few unincorporated areas. The light-rail will include at least six new stations, additional parking and a vehicle storage and maintenance facility, in addition to connecting the Green Line, which goes from Norwalk to the South Bay, to the Expo Line, which will eventually stretch from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica.

The USDOT says that this new train will make it "easier for low-income residents, seniors and other riders to reach downtown Los Angeles, the Westside, South Bay and the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo."

Metro's blog the Source reports that although the more than $500-million loan was announced in 2010, it wasn't officially secured until Monday. The project is currently receiving contractors' bids.

KPCC reports that the new light rail is projected to open in six years.

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