The city's most controversial major roads project, the Centennial Corridor, made a friend late Thursday, scoring $33 million from the California Transportation Commission.

The money is a State Transportation Improvement Program grant, allocated from the state's share of gas tax revenue.

Bakersfield won't get the money until fiscal year 2017-2018, but by then the project should be under construction.

City Manager Alan Tandy said the money will help Bakersfield pay any increases in construction costs.

"Based on history, we don't think costs will escalate, but this will guard against" that, Tandy said. "It will reduce the amount of borrowing the city has to do for the program in the end, but at this point we're not even counting on that."

This is the second bit of good transportation news the city has had recently.

In February, Bakersfield secured the early release of more than $180 million in federal funds allowing it to buy property in the path of Centennial Corridor and fund right-of-way and design on widening 24th Street.

Most of that, $165 million, was for Centennial Corridor. In April, Caltrans is expected to release its draft Environmental Impact Report on the project.