Funding (264557)

More than $35 million was awarded for transit projects in Los Angeles and Orange County, Caltrans announced this week.

Overall, 152 projects statewide — the vast majority of which benefit low-income communities — will receive nearly $97 million from cap-and-trade funding. The funding boost is expected to benefit prospective transit projects in the Antelope Valley and in Santa Clarita.

“This program is about making transit work better for more riders, funding expanded service and reducing fares, especially for those who face financial barriers to mobility,’’ Laurie Berman, Caltrans director.

“Providing accessible, reliable and affordable public transportation all feeds into promoting a healthier environment, better access to economic opportunity and a higher quality of life.’’

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will receive $24.7 million to be split evenly between the Foothill extension of the Gold Line and phase two of the Expo Line.

The Orange County Transportation Authority was awarded nearly $4.8 million to expand low emissions bus service from Fullerton to Huntington Beach via specially-marked Bravo buses that skip stops to get riders to their destinations faster. Bravo! 529 Rapid Bus Service is scheduled to start in February 2019.

Metrolink will receive $2 million to offer roughly 80,500 free tickets to new generation transit riders, seniors and other target populations.

More than a dozen smaller projects to receive funding include a plan to install solar lighting at hundreds of bus stops in Torrance, expansion of Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus line, and other plans for Culver City, Commerce, Gardena, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Montebello and Norwalk.

Funding comes from the Low Carbon Transit Operations Program’s cap-and-trade system, where businesses purchase carbon credits, or pollution offsets, in an auction controlled by the California Air Resources Board.

Projects chosen are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and/or benefit disadvantaged and low-income communities.