By Ray Richardson
INGLEWOOD — The city of Inglewood is among five area communities that will receive a combined $19.9 million from the INVEST In America Act, a proposed federal bill designed to improve transportation and infrastructure systems around the country.
U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, chairwoman of the House Committee on Financial Services, confirmed that Inglewood, Gardena, Torrance Lawndale and Hawthorne have been included in the $547 billion budget outlined in the INVEST In America Act.
“This bill will bring almost $20 million in critical investments to our neighborhoods,” Waters said in a statement. “It will allow our cities to make our roads safer, construct new transit lines that create opportunity for growth and employment, reduce traffic and congestion and much more.”
Waters is among many of the nation’s lawmakers who submitted project bids that were approved for the INVEST In America Act, known as H.R. 3684. The House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure approved 1,473 bids for federal funding. The measure still needs to be approved by both houses of Congress and signed by the president.
“Through a highly transparent, equitable process, we have provided House members the opportunity to ensure that investments in this legislation flow to their communities,” Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon), Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, said in a statement. “Every member who requested projects that met the committee’s criteria received projects.”
Addressing the needs of underserved communities was a key component of the criteria, as well as the need for newer and longer-lasting transportation vehicles.
DeFazio said the committee is hoping the bill passes in the House and Senate before the end of September.
Inglewood is slated to receive $9.2 million, the highest appropriation among the five Los Angeles area communities. Gardena and Torrance will receive approximately $4.4 million each; Lawndale $1.0 million and Hawthorne $950,000.
The Inglewood funding will be used primarily for the pre-construction phase of the Inglewood Transit Connection, a proposed fully elevated transit system that will provide a direct connection from the Crenshaw/LAX rail line to the city’s new housing and employment centers, as well nearby sports and entertainment facilities.
Benefits of the Inglewood appropriation will enhance the city’s growing economy, improve the environment, reduce congestion and improve public transportation safety for passengers traveling to Inglewood from various parts of the region.
Employment opportunities are also expected to improve with the project.
“These federal dollars mean good family-wage jobs that can’t be outsourced,” DeFazio said. “Many of the principles in the bill overlap with the American Jobs Plan. I am eager to advance these shared goals on surface transportation. This bill marks an important step in that process.”
Funding for Gardena, Torrance, Lawndale and Hawthorne range from the purchases of new zero-emission buses to road improvements.
Gardena is budgeted for six zero-emission buses; Torrance five.
Torrance city officials are hoping to upgrade the city’s bus system to provide better service to and from SoFi Stadium, The Forum and other entertainment venues in Inglewood.
City officials in Lawndale are looking to make significant improvements to Redondo Beach Boulevard, including resurfacing, better traffic flow and landscaping to make the area more aesthetic and environmentally safe.
Most of the funding appropriated for Hawthorne will go towards the 120th Street Improvement Project. City officials would like to build new access ramps, install new traffic signal equipment for drivers and pedestrians and increase striping visibility on pavements.
“[This bill] will allow our cities to make our roads safer, construct new transit lines that create opportunity for growth and employment, reduce traffic and congestion and much more.”
— U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters
Ray Richardson is a contributing writer for The Wave. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.