In Perris Valley, FTA Small Starts investment promises big results
Help is on the way in one of Southern California’s most congested corridors, thanks to the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) $75 million commitment to extend the Metrolink commuter rail system 24 miles from Riverside to Perris.
I was delighted to be in Perris earlier this week with U.S. Representatives Ken Calvert and Mark Takano, and Perris City Mayor Daryl Busch to celebrate an agreement that provides funding through FTA’s highly competitive Capital Investment Grant Program, known as New Starts / Small Starts.
This Small Starts investment, which will pay for roughly a third of the project --with an additional $63 million in other U.S. Department of Transportation funds also provided-- will give working families the option of a faster, more convenient commute and enhance access to jobs for those needing reliable, affordable transportation.
Metrolink already serves more than 44,000 riders on weekdays, over three-quarters of whom commuted by car before adopting transit, according to the Southern California Regional Rail Authority. With the planned extension and its four new stations, we can give thousands more drivers the chance to avoid sitting in traffic on the busy I-215. Some of those drivers have the longest commute in Southern California.
This is exactly the kind of project that California, and many other parts of the country, will need more of in the years to come.
The U.S. population is expected to increase by as much as a third between now and 2060. If regions like Southern California are congested now, imagine what they’ll be like with tens of millions of new drivers on the roads. The only way to accommodate that growing population is to invest in a balanced transportation network that expands capacity across the board—on our roads and bridges, as well as our transit and railways.
And FTA’s Capital Investment Grant Program, which has grown into one of the Federal government’s most transformational investment partnerships since its inception nearly four decades ago, is a critical part of the solution.
Therese McMillan is Deputy Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.