By Emilie St. John
INGLEWOOD — The City Council has approved spending an estimated $7.6 million annually for the ongoing maintenance and operation costs of the Inglewood Transit Connector project.
during the May 23 regular city council meeting.
Construction of the 1.6-mile automated transit connector is scheduled to cost nearly $1.8 billion with the city already accumulating $800 million towards those costs. City consultants are expecting to receive the remaining $1 billion from the federal government by year’s end.
Consultants peg the annual maintenance and operation costs at $30 million and expect to generate revenue from a combination of fares, advertising, concessions and grants.
Funding shortages would be covered by Inglewood taxpayers should the city not come to agreements with the owners of the venues in the Sports and Entertainment District (Kia Forum, SoFi Stadium and Intuit Dome) to contribute towards the costs. The primary use of the transit connector would be to move people to these venues for regular season games, other events and the 2028 Summer Olympics.
“Inglewood is all in on the ITC,” said Mayor James T. Butts after the vote. “The ITC is a crucial component of the Inglewood Renaissance. We are growing our economic base exponentially, but we are also managing that growth responsibly.
“Today we’ve shown that we are not just asking other stakeholders and government agencies to support transportation in Inglewood, but rather to join with us.”
In November 2021, the city held a special election on an increase to real estate transfer taxes, which were expected to bring in an additional $4.5 million annually that would go towards the connector project. Voters rejected the proposal.
Prior to that, city consultants submitted then halted an application to the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission, which sought to create a special district, to generate revenue for the connector.
The new development in the city was initially marketed to residents as being of no cost to them and would be funded entirely by private dollars.
In December 2021, the city created transportation impact fees to be paid by developers for transportation-related projects. However, the fees bypassed the largest developments in the city when approved by the council.
“It’s not going to be applied retroactively to the Forum from 1967 or Hollywood Race Track for 70 years,” Butts said at the time. “In this country you can’t pass ex post facto laws.”
The city is now working with Murphy’s Bowl, the development entity for the Los Angeles Clippers, to repurpose portions of the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center transportation mitigation funding program, which includes a shuttle program, to support the operation and maintenance costs for the connector 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.