KCAL: Inglewood to receive more than $1 billion in federal funding for transit connector project

By Staff

More than $1 billion in federal funding will be given to support the Inglewood Transit Connector Project, covering 50% of the anticipated total cost of the project, officials announced Thursday.

In total, the project is set to receive $1,009,430,998 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program. The announcement of the funding comes after a recent approval for the project to begin the engineering phase of development.

According to officials, this approval is the “second-to-last” step in the FTA’s project evaluation process. The project is being spearheaded by the city of Inglewood and Metro.

“This is a good day for the people of Inglewood and the entire region,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said in a statement.

“By signaling their commitment to invest significantly in our project, the federal government is recognizing the importance of providing better transportation options for our residents and to everyone in our region who wants to work and visit our city and its outstanding sports, entertainment, and commercial facilities.”

Butts continued to express his gratitude toward the Biden administration, Sen. Alex Padilla, D-California, and other parties and individuals involved in supporting the project.

In a statement, Padilla lauded the federal grant award, noting the action will support communities “whose transit infrastructure has been neglected for too long and who have been impacted negatively by the construction of major freeways like the I-405 in Inglewood.”

The ITC is a proposed 1.6-mile automated people mover that is intended to address a “first/last” mile transportation gap between Metro’s K Line and Inglewood’s tourism spots such as the Kia Forum, Sofi Stadium, YouTube Theater, the Intuit Dome, and nearby housing and commercial destinations.

“I want to acknowledge the Metro Board of Directors, CEO Stephanie Wiggins, Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles, the county Board of Supervisors and my fellow mayors across the South Bay,” Butts added. “We have collectively aligned around one goal — making sure those coming and going to Inglewood have the optimal experience through a modern transit solution that serves fans, employees, visitors and residents alike.”

The project is expected to connect existing Inglewood residents to the Metro transit system, linking riders from across Metro’s existing 100-plus miles of rail to Inglewood. It’s being designed to carry up to 11,000 riders per hour to approximately 400 annual events that occur in the sports and entertainment district, and provide daily service to thousands of other commuters and visitors.

Inglewood partnered with Metro to establish the Inglewood Transit Connector Joint Powers Authority (JPA), a single-purpose entity which is dedicated to overseeing the design, construction, financing, operations and maintenance of the system.

“Los Angeles is planning and preparing to be on the world’s stage for years to come,” L.A. Mayor and Metro Board Chair Karen Bass said in a statement. “When our federal partners lock arms with us and commit resources to delivering important infrastructure projects, we can deliver for our communities and connect more people to good-paying jobs and world-class destinations.”

According to the city of Inglewood, the project had previously secured $837 million in local, state, and federal funding. Inglewood city leaders and the JPA will work to leverage those committed funds, as well as the new CIG grant, to close construction, maintenance and operating costs.

The ITC team is in the process of hiring a team to implement the project. Three qualified teams are now preparing bids, officials added.

A contract is anticipated to be signed later this summer. Pending the assemblage of all necessary project funding, the JPA will then authorize design and construction to begin.

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