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Nearly a dozen major transit and commuter rail projects in Southern California will be the beneficiary of over $2 billion in funds awarded last week by the State of California.

Metro will receive $150-million from the SB-1 gas tax measure to facilitate the construction of the Airport Metro Connector 96th Street Transit Station, which intends to link the Green and Crenshaw/LAX light rail lines with LAX airport via an automated people mover.  The total project is budgeted at $500 million.

Another project receiving funding from SB-1 is the proposed Orange Line Bus Rapid Transit Improvement Project, which was awarded $75 million out of a requested $320 million.  The project is intended to speed travel times on the 18-mile busway by creating 34 gated street crossings and building a one-mile bridge between existing stations at Van Nuys and Sepulveda Boulevards.  Construction of the improvements is expected to begin in 2019, with completion to follow in 2025.  Metro estimates that the improved service will add 10,000 daily riders to the workhorse bus line.

Other Metro projects receiving a cumulative $1.088 billion from the Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program include:

Metrolink - the commuter rail network that serves Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura Counties - will receive $875 million from the State's Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program, nearly half of which will be used to facilitated run-through tracks at Los Angeles Union Station.  That project, dubbed Link US, will shave up to 20 minutes in travel time for rail passengers by allowing through-routing at the historic rail terminal.

The State has also awarded $8.9 million for the construction of the Vista Canyon Metrolink Station, which will serve a new housing development in the Santa Clarita area.

The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority is also receiving $65 million for the construction of a new passenger rail line that will link the San Bernardino Transit Center with the University of Redlands.

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Mixed-Use Development Planned Near Laguna Niguel Metrolink Station

The project is part of the city's Gateway District.
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The Laguna Niguel Planning Commission has approved a mixed-use development near the city's Metrolink Station.  The joint venture between Blackwood Real Estate and Walbern, located near the intersection of Crown Valley Parkway and Forbes Road, will consist of 100 two- and three-bedroom apartments in a seven-story building.  Plans also call for 2,700 square feet of ground-floor retail space, as well as a pool courtyard, a fitness center, a private garden, and a sky deck.