The eagerly anticipated Crenshaw/LAX Light Rail Line has received an infusion of federal funds with the assistance of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) that will help accelerate the mass transit line’s completion.

Los Angeles officials announced Oct. 15 that Boxer secured a U.S. Department of Transportation loan of $546 million for the Crenshaw /LAX line, which is scheduled to have two stations in Westchester. The light rail project is one of the 12 capital rail initiatives of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s “30/10” plan, which is designed to accelerate the completion of voter-approved Measure R projects in 10 years instead of 30.

“I am very grateful to Sen. Boxer and the Obama Administration for this down payment on our 30/10 initiative to move forward with the Crenshaw line and create jobs we need now,” Villaraigosa said.

The mayor called Boxer a tireless advocate for the 30/10 plan.

“This is our first confidence building measure to make 30/10 a reality,” said Boxer. “What we want to do is take this as a template and a model.”

County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas praised the senator for her efforts in helping to secure the loan for the Crenshaw/LAX line, which he said represents the largest public works investment in South Los Angeles history.

“Sen. Boxer heard the voices of the Crenshaw community and has led us to this major triumph in our quest for a first-class rail system,” Ridley-Thomas said. “It is our hope this massive infusion of federal funds will be used to move passengers to the Crenshaw corridor and on to LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) on a train that goes underground to enhance prosperity without disrupting the streetscapes of our neighborhoods.

“This project is the result of tireless efforts of a coalition of organizations and citizens who have joined together to make this vision of a new line a reality, but would not have been possible without the push in Washington from Sen. Boxer.”

The federal investment toward the project is expected to create 5,000 jobs, according to a study by the Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation. The Crenshaw transit project is anticipated to create a total of more than 15,000 jobs, Los Angeles officials said.

The grant funds will allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to break ground on the light rail project. Construction of the rail line is scheduled to begin in 2012, with a possible completion date of 2016. The line is currently planned to travel from Exposition and Crenshaw boulevards to LAX via a mixture of street-level, above ground and below ground segments.

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