The US Department of Transportation (DOT) has started construction of a new 8.5-mile light rail transit line along the Crenshaw corridor to improve transit options throughout the Los Angeles region.

With eight new transit stations and three park and ride facilities, the line will connect existing rail service on the Metro Green Line with the Metro Exposition Line, for riders to easily reach downtown Los Angeles, the Westside, South Bay and the cities of Inglewood, Hawthorne and El Segundo.

A new transit vehicle maintenance and storage facility will also be built as part of the project.

"This project is a huge win for thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw."

US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said: "Bringing light rail to this community will spur local economic development and make it easier than ever for residents to access downtown Los Angeles and beyond.

"The Obama Administration is committed to investing in good transportation projects like the Crenshaw/LAX line to create ladders of opportunity for millions of Americans, and we are proud to help make this project possible with a $545m loan."

The $2.05bn project received a funding of $545.9m from the department’s Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) programme, while a funding of about $130m is expected to be received from the department and Federal Transit Administration.

Remaining funds for the project will be pooled from state and local sources.

Federal Transit administrator Peter Rogoff said: "This project is a huge win for thousands of hard-working families and seniors living in Crenshaw who depend on public transportation every day to get to work, school, medical appointments and elsewhere."

Image: The Crenshaw/LAX light rail line will improve transit options in Los Angeles. Photo: courtesy of DOT.