In May 2021, Metro suspended work on a proposed expansion of the 710 Freeway, citing concerns from the federal government relating impacts to air quality and the potential displacement of more than 430 homes. In addition to being celebrated by transit activists who have railed against freeway expansion, the decision suddenly left roughly $743 million in funding from Measures R and M previously allocated to the project up for grabs.

Rail to Rail/River Corridor MapMetro

A 35-person task force convened afterward spent roughly two years developing a plan for how to spend nearly three quarters of one billion dollars along the project corridor, which spans between East Los Angeles in the north to Long Beach in the south. Their draft plan, released to the public earlier this year, is now scheduled for consideration by the Metro Board of Directors at its meeting later this month.

The plan, as detailed in a staff report, would split the $743 million into:

  • $100 million for active transportation;
  • $188 million for arterial roadway and complete streets projects;
  • $210 million for freeway safety and interchange improvements;
  • $80 million for goods movement;
  • $125 million for transit; and
  • $40 million for community programs.

That total includes $40 million in funding for a new program called Strategic Technical Assistance for Reparative Transportation Uplifting People - or START-UP for short.

"The START-UP Fund is a targeted technical assistance program that will utilize equity criteria, such as the need for repairing past harms as identified by the concentration of Equity Focus Communities, to identify transportation planning gaps and support the ongoing commitment to centering community needs in developing additional transformative projects in the Corridor," states the staff report.

Aerial view of new Shoemaker Bridge looking southCity of Long Beach

The recommended allocations for the plan would go toward implementing complete streets improvements on segments of Alondra Boulevard, Atlantic boulevard, Florence Avenue, Long Beach Boulevard, and Slauson Avenue, as well as a pilot project for freight rail electrification, the second phase of the Rail to River active transportation corridor, and the replacement of the aging Shoemaker Bridge in Downtown Long Beach. Leveraged with other funding sources, Metro staff estimates that the $743 million could bring a total of $4 billion in investment to the corridor.

The full list is here:

Long Beach - East LA Corridor project list with recommended allocationsMetro

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Board Report (Metro h/t/ @numble)