Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Sacramento marks funds for LRT extension

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Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Monday marked a ceremonial federal funding commitment to Sacramento's Blue Line light rail transit extension.

Speaking at a signing ceremony at Cosumnes River College in South Sacramento, Calif., LaHood affirmed $135 million in federal aid for the $270 million, 4.3-mile extension, linking the college to downtown Sacramento. The Blue Line currently ends at Meadowview Road.

Besides the 50% funding commitment from the Federal Transit Administration, the U.S> Department of Transportation is providing an added $7.1 million.

LaHood was joined at the ceremony by FTA Administrator Peter Rogoff, House Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), and Sacramento Mayor Kevin .

"The Obama administration is committed to helping the Sacramento area create a modern, efficient transportation network to spur new economic development and reduce congestion in the region," LaHood said in a statement. "Across America, we're investing in projects like this one that are built to last and keep our economy moving forward."

"California's capital region needs robust transportation choices to ensure that current and future generations have ready and affordable access to jobs, education, medical appointments and more," Rogoff added. "The Blue Line light-rail extension will help thousands of Cosumnes students spend less at the pump, and will spur retail and residential development at the new Morrison Creek Station and beyond."

The extension is slated for completion by September 2015.

Sacramento's Regional Transit District (RTD) began operating light rail service in 1987 over an 18-mile starter line. The current three-route LRT system handles roughly 50,000 riders per weekday.