Contact: Allison Lantero
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today participated in a signing ceremony to commit $135 million to extend the existing Sacramento Light Rail Blue Line by 4.3 miles, linking downtown Sacramento to the growing South Sacramento County corridor. The expansion offers commuters an alternative to congested Highway 99 while bringing new transit service to Cosumnes River College, one of the area’s major employers. Secretary LaHood was joined at the signing ceremony by Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, California Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Mayor Kevin Johnson and other state and local officials.
“The Obama Administration is committed to helping the Sacramento area create a modern, efficient transportation network to spur new economic development and reduce congestion in the region,” said Secretary LaHood. “Across America, we’re investing in projects like this one that are built to last and keep our economy moving forward.”
Ridership on Sacramento’s existing light rail system rose by 7.4 percent between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2012, and the area population is expected to grow steadily over the next five years as the local economy continues to improve. Extending the Blue Line will improve access to the area’s major employers and encourage new retail and residential development in specially zoned areas. According to Sacramento Regional Transit, which operates the line, the extension project will generate 1,000 jobs or more over the next two years.
“California’s capital region needs robust transportation choices to ensure that current and future generations have ready and affordable access to jobs, education, medical appointments and more,” said Administrator Rogoff. “The Blue Line light rail extension will help thousands of Cosumnes students spend less at the pump, and will spur retail and residential development at the new Morrison Creek Station and beyond.”
The project extends the Blue Line light rail line 4.3 miles from Meadowview Road to Cosumnes River College and includes four new stations at Morrison Creek, Franklin Boulevard, Center Parkway and the college. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) is funding 50 percent of the $270 million project through its New Starts Program. DOT provided an additional $7.1 million; the remaining cost will be covered by state and local funding.
Today’s funding announcement is the latest of several investments in Sacramento’s transportation future made by FTA and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). For instance, in June 2012, Secretary LaHood announced that DOT would provide $15 million through its Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program to rehabilitate the Sacramento Valley Rail Station, an intermodal transit hub connected to the Sacramento Light Rail Gold Line. FTA provided $111.2 million, or half the total cost, of the South Corridor (Blue Line) light rail starter line, which began operations in 2003.