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Metro Board Approves Initial Funding for I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project

Thursday April 23, 2009

Metro (Metro) Board of Directors today voted to fund the first phase of the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Widening Project, a critical regional transportation project that will add a northbound carpool lane on one of the region’s most congested freeways connecting the San Fernando Valley with the rest of Los Angeles.

The Board’s decision establishes a life of project budget of $1.034 billion to initiate construction, and authorizes the agency, among others, to award a fixed-price design-build contract with Kiewet Pacific Company.

The project will begin construction later this year, and could be completed within four and a half years, creating 18,000 local construction jobs.

“This is clearly an important project that will improve mobility while creating thousands of much needed, high-paying jobs that will expedite our region’s economic recovery,” said L.A. City Mayor and Metro Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa.
The Northbound High-Occupancy Vehicle Lane will be built on the I-405 between the I-10 and U.S. 101 and is a joint project between Metro and Caltrans. A southbound carpool lane has already been constructed in the corridor.

The project will be built in phases based on funding availabiliy. It will utilize a combination of federal, state and local funds. Approximately one-third of the funding, or $372 million, has already been secured for the project – enough money to meet the project’s start-up costs for a 15-month period. That includes nearly $200 million in federal stimulus funds that are available contingent on construction beginning this year.

The remaining $662 million of project funding will be forthcoming from the State pending the sale of transportation bonds delayed by the State’s fiscal crisis. Metro has flexibility in its contract language and has established reserves within its budget that will enable it to better manage future project financing risks.

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