City receives federal funds for transit connector project

By Emilie St. John

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — The city has announced it has received more than $1 billion in federal funds towards the construction of the Inglewood Transit Connector.

“This is a good day for the people of Inglewood and the entire region,” Mayor James Butts said in a statement. “By signaling their commitment to invest significantly in our project, the federal government is recognizing the importance of providing better transportation options for our residents and to everyone in our region who wants to work and visit our city and its outstanding sports, entertainment and commercial facilities.”

In total, the project is set to receive $1,009,430,998 from the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant program. The announcement of the funding comes after a recent approval for the project to begin the engineering phase of development.

According to officials, this approval is the “second-to-last” step in the FTA’s project evaluation process. The project is being spearheaded by the city of Inglewood and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority as a joint powers authority.

When the project was announced in 2019, construction costs were pegged at roughly $1.15 billion. That number has since swelled to nearly $3 billion.

According to the city, the project had previously secured $837 million in local, state, and federal funding. Inglewood city leaders and the joint powers authority will work to leverage those committed funds, as well as the new capital investment grant, to close construction, maintenance and operating costs.

The city has not indicated where the additional needed funds will come from.

Butts continues to negotiate with owners of the entertainment and sports venues, the Kia Forum, SoFi Stadium and the Intuit Dome, on contributing towards the projects costs.

“The mayor is continuing to lead negotiations with the venues for their contributions to operation and maintenance, in consistency with our plans, and the negotiations are ongoing and collaborative,” said Lisa Trifiletti, lead consultant on the project.

Inglewood taxpayers are on the hook for close to $10 million in annual costs towards the maintenance and operation of the 1.6-mile transit line which was approved by the council in June 2023.

“The reality is I am still actively engaging the venues but what we cannot do is negotiate with a firearm to our head because we have to meet a deadline for the FTA,” Butts said.

The transit connector team is in the process of hiring a staff to implement the project. Three qualified teams are now preparing bids, officials added.

A contract is anticipated to be signed later this summer. Pending the assemblage of all necessary project funding, the joint powers authority will then authorize design and construction to begin.

“I want to acknowledge the Metro Board of Directors, CEO Stephanie Wiggins, Mayor Karen Bass of Los Angeles, the county Board of Supervisors and my fellow mayors across the South Bay,” Butts said in his statement. “We have collectively aligned around one goal — making sure those coming and going to Inglewood have the optimal experience through a modern transit solution that serves fans, employees, visitors and residents alike.”

The project is expected to connect existing Inglewood residents to the county transit system, linking riders from across the existing 100-plus miles of rail to Inglewood. It’s being designed to carry up to 11,000 riders per hour to approximately 400 annual events that occur in the sports and entertainment district, and provide daily service to thousands of other commuters and visitors.

Emilie St. John is a freelance journalist covering the areas of Carson, Compton, Inglewood and Willowbrook. Send tips to her at