Feinstein: “I Support Funding for the Westside Subway”

Last week, Patch reported on a speech given by Senator Dianne Feinsteinin Century City.  The resulting article quoted the Senator, ”Right now, no one knows where that [money] is,” implying that federal funding for the Westside Subway was in serious doubt.  The headline “Feinstein: ‘No One Knows Where’ Federal Funds for Subway Extension Will Come From” touched a nerve with both supporters and critics of the Westside Subway.

Senator Dianne Feinstein

This was something of a shocking statement from a Senator who just two months ago  boasted about her role in securing a $641 million low interest loan for the Subway.  When contacted, the Senator’s office claimed it was the future funding of the TIFIA program and the entire transportation fundingbill in Washington, D.C. that she was discussing and she remained confident that increased federal funding for the Subway is a priority for her agenda.

“I support funding for the Westside subway extension, and I worked to secure a Federal TIFIA loan for this project that is now under final due diligence review,” Feinstein wrote in a statement.  ”Federal loans and bonds are the key means by which the Mayor intends to finance the construction of 30 years of Los Angeles transit projects in ten years. Already, we have secured two loans for transit projects, and I will continue to support both TIFIA funding and Los Angeles’ requests.”

Congressional leaders are scrambling for a temporary reauthorization of the legislation which expires at the end of September while a long-term funding bill is debated, but nothing in Washington, D.C. is certain in the era of Tea Party Politics.

Far from being “on the fence” about the Subway as some critics imply, Feinstein discussed expediating the project through the permit process.  ”“Expanding Transit is critically important for Los Angeles, and the Westside Subway is the signature element of the Mayor’s Transit plan.”

Lastly, even if the federal transportation bill remains stalled, Feinstein will try to push funding and loans for the Subway and other Los Angeles 30/10 projects in appropriations.

“I have conveyed my vigorous support for appropriating funding to this project to President Obama and to the Senate Appropriations Committee in this year’s budget, but I cannot secure funding directly, due to the prohibition on earmarks. I am hopeful that the project will compete well if funds for new projects are included in Department of Transportation budget.”

Feinstein remains agnostic on the issue of whether there should be a Subway stop on Santa Monica Boulevard or Constellation Avenue in Century City, but vowed to push forward with funding options for the project regardless of what route is selected.