The commission also approved funding for a project to improve safety at railway grade crossings along the Metrolink system at Van Nuys Boulevard and Buena Vista/Vanowen streets. The overall project cost is about $14 million, most of which has already been funded from several state, local and federal sources; Wednesday’s commission action provided about $600,000 toward that overall funding. The CTC allocated nearly half of the $640 million for the first phase of the Exposition Line, 8.5 miles from the existing Metro Rail station at Seventh Street/Metro Center. The line will head south toward the University of Southern California, then along Exposition Boulevard and end at Washington/National in Culver City. Construction on the first phase started last year and is scheduled for completion in 2010. The second phase, still in the planning stages, will connect Culver City to the beach in Santa Monica. SACRAMENTO – Los Angeles commuters got some long-sought relief Wednesday as the California Transportation Commission greenlighted a costly light-rail project to aid Westside commuters but provided only slight aid to the San Fernando Valley. The funding comes after months of being stalled amid a legislative budget deadlock but now means that several projects can move forward, including $315 million for the Exposition light-rail line project. “(This) ensures continued progress without interruption in building the Expo light-rail line to Culver City and ultimately to Santa Monica,” said the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors chairman, Zev Yaroslavsky, in a written statement. “It hastens the day we can finish the project and bring mass rapid transit and a measure of genuine traffic relief to the people of West Los Angeles.” While there had been concern that cuts in transportation funds by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger would jeopardize some of the projects, the commission determined that funds were available and approved the money unanimously with no debate. “It’s a very important day for Los Angeles,” said Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-West Hollywood, who chairs the budget subcommittee on transportation. “This is absolutely fundamental to the future of not only this line, but public transit in Los Angeles. The Exposition Line is a foundation for what can be, to alleviate congestion throughout our region.” Metro had already begun construction on the first phase, so failing to win approval for the last state funding piece would have sent agency officials scrambling for other sources. “I think Metro would have moved to delay other projects, because this project is under construction,” said David Yale, deputy executive officer with Metro. He said the Metro board has a list of projects it wants to pursue but has not allocated funding because it was waiting for state action on the Expo Line. Other Los Angeles projects approved by the commission included widening the off-ramp from the 105 Freeway onto Sepulveda Boulevard near Los Angeles International Airport. Officials say traffic on that off-ramp often backs up onto the freeway during busy times, causing crashes and additional freeway congestion. The project costs $7.6 million. harrison.sheppard @dailynews.com (916) 446-6723160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!