Friday, July 25, 2014

Caltrans Seeks $4M TIGER Grant for Corridor Study and Wildlife Crossing

Caltrans is seeking a total of $4 million from the 2014 Federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program to finance a corridor study in the underserved and economically disadvantaged communities of southeastern Los Angeles County, as well as a wildlife crossing over U.S. Highway 101.

Southeast Los Angeles Corridor Study
Caltrans requested $2 million in federal funds, plus $500,000 in state and local funding, for the Southeast Los Angeles Interconnected Corridors Study, a multi-modal corridor study which will examine two critical goods movement highway corridors and the communities surrounding them: (incorporated) Bell, Bell Gardens, Cudahy, Huntington Park, Los Angeles, Lynwood, Maywood, South Gate and, Vernon; (unincorporated) Broadway-Manchester, Central-Alameda, Florence, Florence-Firestone, Green Meadows, Historic South Central, South Park, Watts and Walnut Park.

The Interstate 710 and Alameda Corridor are critical transportation corridors in this study that distribute goods nationally from the nation’s two busiest seaports, the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Long Beach. They also suffer from some of the worst congestion in the state and nation. Due to the vital role the routes play in freight movement, it is important that these transportation services be as effective and efficient as possible for their role in national and international economies.

Liberty Canyon Wildlife Crossing  
This TIGER grant also seeks $2 million in funding for the environmental document and engineering design phases of a future wildlife crossing over U.S. Highway 101 at Liberty Canyon Road in Agoura Hills. Roads and other infrastructure can fragment animal habitats, creating barriers to their movement and increasing the risk of collisions between vehicles and animals. US Highway 101 is an impassible barrier for wildlife migrating into or out of the Santa Monica Mountains. Animals with large home ranges, such as mountain lions, are essentially trapped within the mountain range, which can result in inbreeding and high mortality rates. This wildlife crossing promises to provide for an improved habitat connection across a fragmented landscape, which will help sustain and improve the genetic diversity of mountain lions, deer, coyotes and other native species.

Support for this project has come from a broad coalition of local, state and federal agencies, as well as several elected officials and non-profit organizations. Caltrans is working with these local and regional partners to integrate critical and sustainable environmental considerations into the region’s transportation network. Partner agencies also pledged matching funds and in-kind services to assist in this effort. The TIGER program, which began as part of the federal Recovery Act, offers federal funding possibilities for large, multi-modal projects.

These federal funds leverage money from private sector partners, state, local governments, metropolitan planning organizations and transit agencies. Since 2009, California has received a total of $71.4 million for transportation projects across the state. 2014 TIGER grant awards are expected to be announced later this year.