Leaders hail transit connector project as ‘game changer’

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By 2UrbanGirls

Contributing Writer

INGLEWOOD — The city facilitated an industry forum last month to share the Inglewood Transit Connector project with the transportation construction management industry.

The forum was to pitch the building of the $1 billion automated people mover, which is being heralded as a “game changer” for Los Angeles County.

The hour-long presentation, featuring Inglewood Mayor James T. Butts Jr., outgoing Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority CEO Phil Washington, state Sen. Steve Bradford, Assemblywoman Autumn Burke and Trifiletti Consulting, showcasing the local, state and regional support of the project.

Butts kicked off the presentation by reminding the participants of a big “historic fact.”

“On June 14, 1959, the Disneyland Monorail came into operation as the first [people mover] of its size and height built in the western United States,” Butts said. “About that time, in 1959, there were still covenants on the homes in Inglewood preventing the sale of your home to a colored person.

Butts went further back into history.

“As of 1937, Inglewood was the regional headquarters of the Southern California Ku Klux Klan,” he said. “Inglewood has changed so dramatically since then with the opening of Hollywood Park in 1938, Jack Kent Cooke built the Forum in 1967, and that became the precursor to Inglewood later being known as the city of champions.”

Butts said the transit connector project would be headed by a joint powers authority between the city and the MTA, who will work together to bring the funding sources needed to build the project.

“The city has received $95.2 million from the state, due to three census tracts that the project will run through, and we are seeking ballot measures to also close the funding gap,” Butts said.

One proposed ballot measure is to form a special taxing district and ask voters to add additional fees to their property taxes to help foot the bill.

Questions to Trifiletti Consulting and the city of Inglewood have gone unanswered as to when the residents will be asked to vote on the matter.

State legislators pledged their support behind the transit connector project and the city’s leadership.

“This transit connector connects businesses, reduces congestion, and creates jobs,” Burke said. “The city has been meticulous about following state standards under SB 375.”

SB 375 laid out environmental standards the Inglewood Basketball and Entertainment Center must follow to be built, specifically addressing greenhouse gas emissions and traffic congestion.

“Nowhere in the county is a region growing as fast as the city of Inglewood and its because of the leadership of Mayor Butts,” Washington said. “This project has the ability to complete the first and last mile connection from the Crenshaw/LAX line to one of the South Bay’s most dynamic employment and entertainment sectors.”

“I’m honored to represent the city of Inglewood, in both the Assembly and Senate, working with former Sen. Rod Wright to secure funds for Inglewood Unified School District, assisting with securing $25 million in the successor fund to revitalize the Forum, and now partnering with Burke and Sen. Sydney Kamlager-Dove to create jobs and opportunities for the residents,” Bradford said. “The ITC is designed to be a world class transit system and it is a hot topic in Sacramento.”

Bradford also shared the South Bay Cities Council of Governments have pledged their support as well.

Next steps will be for the city to put out a request for information from interested construction firms, which will include technical requirements and how much funding it will need to cover capital and operating costs.

“Imagination without strategy and execution is pure hallucination,” Butts said. “100% of every single project, and every single entity that we have attempted to draw to the city of Inglewood has occurred within the last six years. There are only three cities in this country that were able to attract three professional sports teams: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles and what we did in two and a half years, took them a generation.”

2 Urban Girls is a freelance reporter for Wave Newspapers who covers the Compton and Inglewood areas. She can be reached at 2urbangirls@gmail.com.