LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
A Van Nuys Blvd. transit project is in the mix for a portion of nearly $2 billion
By Olga Grigoryants
A massive San Fernando Valley transit project is poised to get a piece of $1.7 billion in state funding, officials said.
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor and a few other Valley transit projects might receive the funding in the form of grants if they are approved by the California Transportation Commission next month.
The funding comes from Senate Bill 1, overseen by the California State Transportation Agency in partnership with the Local Partnership Program and Solutions for Congested Corridors Program.
SB 1, which increased the gas tax by 12 cents per gallon and raised vehicle registration fees, was signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown last year.
Measure M, a countywide sales tax increase to finance multiple transportation projects, will also contribute to the funding, if the state recommendations are approved.
The grants would fund improvements for a transit connection between North Hollywood and Pasadena.
The Metro Orange Line Bus Transit Improvement Project was recommended to receive $75 million, according to Metro.
State Sen. Bob Hertzberg, D-Van Nuys, said in a statement that the funding is “a damn big deal” for the San Fernando Valley communities. In January, Sen. Hertzberg wrote a letter urging Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration to fully fund the project.
The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, he said, will provide much needed transit service in the Valley, “better access to local and regional transit services, more room for passengers,” “improved mobility, reduced traffic congestion,” according to his statement.
The California Transportation Commission is scheduled to consider adopting the grants at meetings on May 16 and May 17.
The 9.2-mile East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor, which would connect the Metro Orange Line in Van Nuys to the Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink station by either rail or bus via Van Nuys Boulevard, is expected to begin construction in 2021, just in time for the 2028 Summer Olympics.
The project sparked controversy after it became known that one of the corridor’s proposed rail options, known as Option A, would displace more than 180 businesses for the potential maintenance yard, which would be located near the Metro Orange Line just west of Van Nuys Boulevard. A group of the Valley business owners said construction of a proposed maintenance yard and storage facility could force them to relocate.
Jason Ackerman, a board member on the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council, said he was “excited” that the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor made it to the list.
“It’s a win for the Valley,” he said. “But it’s hard to say how big the win is because we don’t know how much money the project will receive.”