By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — The Inglewood Transit Connector project dominated headlines in 2023 and is one of the most important projects the city looks forward to in the new year.
The transit connector is a 1.6-mile rail line that will connect the K-Line to the Inglewood Sports and Entertainment District.
The city announced it achieved a major milestone in receiving federal funding towards the project in October.
The positive rating declares the project eligible for funding from the Federal Transit Administration’s capital investment grants program, which moves the project closer to groundbreaking.
“We thank the FTA for advancing the ITC project as it will not only enhance access to our housing, commercial and world-class sports and entertainment centers, it will provide access to good job opportunities and will lift up Inglewood, the South Bay and the entire region,” Mayor James T. Butts Jr. said.
The FTA assigned a “medium” rating for the project, indicating it qualifies for a $1.21 billion federal grant, covering 60% of construction costs.
The City demonstrated funding potential by securing $873 million, which is roughly one-third of the initial construction costs that have swelled to nearly $3 billion since the project was introduced in 2019.
Initial construction costs were estimated at $1.15 billion then increased to $1.6 billion. The city secured more than $765 million in local, state and federal funds, including $233.3 million of Measure R funding, which had previously been allocated to another transit project.
Trifletti Consulting, the lead project manager on the transit connector project, said it expects a final ruling on the requested federal funding by Jan. 5.
The other big project in the city is the opening of the Intuit Dome for the 2024-25 NBA season, which starts next October.
“You all, fans and players together, deserve the ultimate home court,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer said last March. “You’re going to have it and you’re going to have it here in Inglewood.”
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in September 2021 with Ballmer describing the new arena as a “basketball palazzo” with financial software company Intuit, signing a 23-year naming rights deal in 2021 for an undisclosed sum.
Intuit Dome is a $1.8 billion privately financed arena that is situated across from Hollywood Park and SoFi Stadium.
The planned transit connector is expected to have a stop near the Intuit Dome in an effort to mitigate congestion and traffic concerns generated by the project.
Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.