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Los Angeles County’s transit agency injected with federal cash while trying to boost ridership

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(The Center Square) – In the year before the pandemic in 2019, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority received $319 million to its operating budget.

Three years later, the transit agency that serves Los Angeles, Long Beach and Anaheim was given $1.3 billion in federal dollars, according to reports.

And now, the agency is set to get millions of more of taxpayer dollars in preparation for the 2028 Olympics.

Despite the injection of government money, LA Metro is still a long way from recovering the lost ridership since the pandemic hit.

While agency boasted its ridership is at peak levels since the pandemic, although there has still been a huge drop in ridership over the past 10 years according to reports.

At its peak over the past 10 years, total monthly ridership in January hit 39.3 million in 2013. Ridership had slumped to 30.8 million in January 2020, right before the pandemic hit the U.S.

Slowly, ridership has been increasing, rising from 18.9 million in January 2022 to 21.4 million in January 2023 and up to 24.2 million in 2024.

The population in LA County has dropped slightly, going from 9.8 million in 2010 to an estimated 9.7 million in 2023, according to the U.S. Census.

Some of the main factors the city is stating for the increase in the post-pandemic ridership include increased safety, improved cleanliness, improved service, increased leisure, and more affordable metro prices for riders.

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass announced this month that nearly $900 million in funding for The Los Angeles region in preparation for the 2028 Olympic and Paralympic games, while reports show a drop in ridership.

LA Metro will receive $709.9 million from the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Fiscal Year 2024 transportation spending law, according to the city of Los Angeles. It will also receive another $139 million to improve transportation in anticipation of the Olympic games.

“During our international delegation to Paris to prepare for the 2028 Olympics and Paralympics Games, the message was clear: there’s no time to waste in strengthening our local infrastructure and transportation system to be ready to welcome the world for the Games,” Bass said in a media release. “I thank President Biden, Senators Padilla and Butler and all of Los Angeles’ federal representatives for their continued partnership to help us secure the funding needed to expand Metro’s transportation system, build new infrastructure at the Port of Los Angeles and increase safety, accessibility, and sustainability for all residents and visitors in the region.”

“With the 2028 Olympic Games just a few years away, we are investing in transportation infrastructure that both helps the Games run smoothly and makes a lasting improvement to the mobility and connectivity of the communities who need it most. Bikeshare stations can help students get to their college campuses, more efficient bus services will open up job opportunities, and mobility hubs will allow more Angelenos to avoid traffic,” said U.S. Senator Alex Padilla in a news release. “I am proud to have secured this critical federal funding for the Los Angeles region that will be felt for years after the Olympic Games end.”

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