LOS ANGELES – Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti, along with Metro Board members Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker, delivered checks today totaling $66,310 to four small business owners impacted by construction of the expanding Metro Rail system.
“We’re making much needed investments to our public transportation system in Los Angeles, but construction cannot come at the expense of our businesses,” said Los Angeles Mayor and Metro Board Chair Eric Garcetti. “The Business Interruption Fund will help ensure that businesses impacted by construction are able to thrive despite any temporary inconveniences to customers and employees.”
The first four merchants to received economic compensation from Metro’s new Business Interruption Fund (BIF) pilot program are Lili Wigs, 1st Choice Driving & Traffic School, Design Studio 27, and Parisian Wigs, Inc. The Metro Board authorized the agency to designate up to $10 million annually to be used for implementation of the BIF; individual businesses may receive up to $50,000 annually.
“The Business Interruption Fund is the first of its kind in Los Angeles County,” said Los Angeles Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. “It is essential that business owners don’t bear the burden of the construction process alone. Small businesses are the backbone of our communities and so we must do what we can to ensure that they continue to thrive.”
Created last year by the Metro Board to help small businesses directly impacted by rail construction, the BIF is being implemented at three Metro Rail system projects now under construction: Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project, the Little Tokyo area of the Regional Connector and segment one of the Purple Line extension. The program is being administered in partnership with Pacific Coast Regional Small Business Development Corporation (PCR).
“Today we are here for the first time compensating small businesses affected by Metro rail construction,” said Metro Director Jacquelyn Dupont-Walker. “However, we are not just giving away money. We take our fiscal responsibilities seriously. Therefore, small businesses that will receive financial assistance have to carefully document their losses and viability. Metro wants to ensure that these merchants – who weave together the fabric of our communities — will survive so that when the new Metro Rail projects open, they will be able to enjoy the economic benefits that projects of this magnitude will bring to the Los Angeles region.”
Qualifying businesses shall be those with at least two years of continuous operating history; 25 or fewer total employees; in good standing with local, state and federal taxing and licensing authorities and those able to produce relevant financial records (e.g. gross receipts, payroll taxes, bank statements or other financial information) demonstrating a loss of business revenue directly related to the period of construction disruption. It must be noted that BIF financial assistance is only available for those businesses impacted by the three identified transit rail construction projects. Businesses located along any of Metro’s other lines do not qualify. Visit PCR’s website at www.pcrcorp.org and click on the Metro icon and follow the instructions. Applicants can also contact Angela Winston, program manager at (213) 739-2999, extension 223.
Metro also implemented the Business Solution Center (BSC), a pilot program to assist businesses by providing free support services to business owners including business development and financial referrals. The Business Solution Center also has a new web page: www.metrobsc.net/crenshaw.
The Business Assistance Center serving Little Tokyo is operated by the Asian Pacific Islander-Small Business Program (API-SBP) and they are located at Metro’s Regional Connector Little Tokyo Community Office, 360 E. 1st Street. Operations began on February 23, 2015.
Additionally, the promotional campaign Eat, Shop, Play Crenshaw http://www.metro.net/interactives/html/eatshopplay/ encourages residents to pledge to shop locally and win cash prizes of up to $1,000. Metro is also promoting business through its “Open for Business” video series, featuring businesses along the rail alignment.
The 8.5-mile Crenshaw/LAX Line is a $2.058 billion light-rail line that will connect the Green Line and the Expo Line. It will have eight new stations to serve the Crenshaw, Inglewood and LAX communities. It is expected to open in 2019.
For more information on the Crenshaw/LAX Transit Project go to metro.net/Crenshaw or join us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CrenshawRail and on Twitter at https://twitter.com/crenshawrail or call the project hotline (213) 922-2736.