THE BLOG
01/05/2011 07:10 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Subway and Regional Connector Chugging Along into 2011

The new year has just begun and already there's good news for our planned Westside Subway and Regional Connector, two key 30/10 Measure R transit projects.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has just sent word to the LA County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) that we can begin preliminary engineering on both projects. This a big step towards construction!

Under 30/10, we would accelerate planning, funding, and construction of all 12 Measure R transit projects so that they are completed in 10 years instead of the current 30 year timeline. Today's formal approval moves us a step closer to meeting the necessary deadlines to make 30/10 a reality.

More importantly, this is a sign from the FTA that the Westside Subway and Regional Connector could be prioritized for federal New Starts funding--grants that will close the funding gap and let us build.

The Westside Subway and Regional Connector are the two largest projects in the New Starts cue, and the jobs they will create could help turn around the economy of Southern California and the nation.

These projects are such great engines for economic growth, they could even be eligible to receive some funding in the President's next budget, though it's too early to know for certain.

We know one thing without a doubt--government has to do more with less, and the innovative financing model of 30/10 can serve as a model for smart investment in US infrastructure. By leveraging local funds, we can build 21st century regional transit projects, and create hundreds of thousands of jobs, all at a low cost to the U.S. Treasury.

This is a great way to start the year. I'm encouraged that our 30/10 Measure R projects are on track, and that DC is giving us the go ahead to begin preliminary engineering.

This progress wouldn't be possible without the continuing strong support of the Obama Administration, Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, LA's congressional delegation, and the many transit advocates and supporters who have joined our coalition.

Here's hoping this is the first of many good announcements we'll make on Measure R and 30/10 this year!