By: Eye On Inglewood Staff
November 1, 2023
Rendering of Inglewood Transit Connector.
The Inglewood Transit Connector (ITC) Project has reached a significant milestone with a positive rating from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). This achievement makes the project eligible for funding under the FTA’s Capital Investment Grants (CIG) Program, bringing it closer to receiving the budget and commencing work.
Mayor James T. Butts, Jr. expressed gratitude to the FTA for advancing the ITC Project, stating that it would not only improve accessibility to housing, commerce, and sports centers but also provide better employment prospects and propel growth for Inglewood, the South Bay, and the wider region. He thanked President Biden, Secretary Buttigieg, Administrator Fernandez, the FTA team, Senator Padilla, the late Senator Feinstein, and Congresswoman Waters for their unwavering commitment to investing in high-quality transit.
To attain the rating, the City demonstrated the ITC’s potential ridership, alignment with the FTA’s land use and economic development objectives, and its financial capability to deliver the Project, culminating in its eligibility for federal funding from the CIG program. Over 150 projects across America, from subway systems to rapid transit bus lines, have already benefitted from this funding source.
The proposed ITC is a 1.6-mile automated people mover that aims to bridge the transportation gap between the Metro K-Line and Inglewood's new employment and destination centers. These centers include the Kia Forum, Sofi Stadium, YouTube Theater, the Intuit Dome, as well as housing and commercial areas in Hollywood Park.
The ITC will provide Inglewood residents with access to the Metro transit system and connect riders to over 100 miles of existing rail in the Metro network. By reducing vehicle miles to and from Inglewood, the ITC will help decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, this project will create numerous temporary construction and permanent jobs, stimulating economic investment in the City and the wider region.
Councilmember Eloy Morales, representing District 3, expressed gratitude for the progress made on the project. He believes that transforming this bold vision into reality is an important step that will ultimately benefit the residents, business owners, and visitors of Inglewood.
The project also aims to provide benefits to disadvantaged businesses enterprises (DBEs). It sets a requirement that 16% of all contract values be allocated to DBEs, while aiming for 30% of all contract values to go to small, minority, women, and veteran-owned businesses. A Community Workforce Agreement has also been established, in partnership with the LA/OC Building Trades, to ensure that local hires contribute 35% of construction hours, transitional workers account for 10%, and up to 30% are apprenticeships.
Gloria Gray, Councilwoman for District 1, emphasized that the ITC Project is not just a transportation solution, but also a means of creating job opportunities and promoting economic development while reducing the region's carbon footprint. She expressed gratitude to the state, local, and federal partners for their immense support in reaching this stage.
Dionne Faulk, Councilwoman for District 4, echoed the sentiment, highlighting the anticipated 400 music, sports, and entertainment events per year that are expected to take place along the ITC alignment once the Clippers start playing at the Intuit Dome next year. She emphasized the importance of the ITC for the community's economic future and quality of life, appreciating that the FTA recognizes the significance of sustainable public transit in Inglewood's revitalization.
Councilman Alex Padilla, representing District 2, expressed optimism and appreciation for the progress made on the ITC Project. He acknowledged the challenges involved but assured that the project is advancing one step at a time. Like his colleagues, he expressed immense gratitude towards the FTA for their assistance, allowing them to continue moving forward with renewed energy.
To oversee and manage the Project, the City has collaborated with LA Metro to establish the Inglewood Transit Connector Joint Powers Authority (JPA).
Over the past year, the ITC Project has achieved significant milestones, including compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act and the National Environmental Protection Act. It has also secured over $873 million in funding from local, state, and federal sources. The City and JPA plan to leverage these committed funds and pursue additional grants to secure a CIG grant that will cover 60% of the anticipated Project costs.
The City has prequalified three teams. They are expected to bid on a solicitation to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain the ITC this fall, with an award anticipated in the second quarter of 2024.