Last year culminated with the Federal government awarding more than $6 billion toward the construction high-speed rail lines which could eventually connect Los Angeles County to the Bay Area and Las Vegas. The Biden administration is now starting off 2024 with more good news for major transportation projects in the region.

Yesterday, the City of Inglewood announced that is has received a commitment from the Federal Transit Administration for a more than $1 billion capital investment grant for the Inglewood Transit Connector project - a planned monorail-like system which would link the K Line's Downtown Inglewood Station with SoFi Stadium and Intuit Dome.

“This is a good day for the people of Inglewood and the entire region,” said Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts in a news release. “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. We owe a debt of gratitude not only to the Biden Administration but also to US Senator Alex Padilla, the late Senator Dianne Feinstein, USDOT and FTA leadership, as well as Governor Newson, Assemblywoman Tina McKinnor and other State and local partners. 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. 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.”

People mover mapCity of Inglewood

The 1.6-mile people mover, which would along Market Street, Manchester Boulevard ,and Prairie Avenue, would use 24 driverless vehicles with service as frequent as every two minutes during large events at the sporting and entertainment venues at the southern end of the route. While ridership projections estimate just 414 passengers would use the system during weekday peak-hour conditions, the system is being designed with capacity to carry up to 11,000 passengers each hour.

The commitment of new federal funding adds to the roughly $873 million already raised for the project, but falls short of the $1.2 billion that Inglewood officials had hoped to receive. The project has a more than $2 billion price tag, leaving a funding gap that must be closed to obtain the grant award.

The City of Inglewood has partnered with Metro on a joint powers authority which will be responsible for overseeing the design, construction, financing, operations, and maintenance of the people mover. Under that arrangement, it is expected that full funding will be secured during 2024, which would allow the people mover to open for revenue service in 2030, according to FTA documents. That will provide an easier connection to the K Line roughly one mile north of SoFi Stadium, but after the 2028 Olympics that had previously been set as a deadline for project delivery.

While not a part of the current project, plans for the transit connector also leave the door open for a potential future extension southward to connect with the C Line's Hawthorne/Lennox Station. However, no plans for an extension have been made at this point in time.

The current iteration of the project since it was first announced in 2018, shortening the route slightly and consolidating stops to leave two termini at Florence Avenue and Hardy Street, as well as an stop at Manchester serving the Forum. At that time, prior to dramatic cost increases that have impacted construction projects since the onset of the pandemic, it was expected that the project would cost anywhere from $614 million to $729 million.

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