Claremont Insider: Light-Rail Spotlight

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Light-Rail Spotlight


The Daily Bulletin reminds us that the Gold Line Foothill Extension's fate could be decided tomorrow at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's (MTA) board meeting when the MTA board will consider the agency's Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP):

The 24-mile project to extend the Gold Line from Pasadena to Montclair has received a federal pledge of $320 million - if the county's transit agency funds the remaining $80 million required to start the first phase of the project.

The first phase would take the line out to the border of Azusa and Glendora.

At Thursday's meeting, the board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority will vote on whether to commit the $80 million.

The article, by Dan Abendschein, goes on to say that current Gold Line ridership is up 19-percent over the past year, primarily due to the rapid hike in gas prices. That increase, however, may not be enough to get the MTA board to support the Gold Line extension. As we wrote a few weeks ago, there's more than a little behind-the-scenes politicking going on here.
Thursday, June 26th, 9:30am -
MTA Board of Directors Meeting

One Gateway Plaza, 3rd Floor
Los Angeles, CA


The Gold Line is competing with the proposed Expo Line light-rail from downtown LA to Santa Monica, and the Expo Line proponents are pulling out all the stops to make sure they get funding over the Gold Line.

MTA board chair Pam O'Connor is scheduled to appear tonight from 8pm to 9pm on a call-in cable TV talk show that available only to viewers in Los Angeles and Santa Monica. The call-in phone number hasn't been made available and won't be giving out until it appears on viewers' TV screens tonight.

So, the calls to the MTA board chair the night before the crucial vote will be limited to callers from areas that would be serviced by the Expo Line. Hmmmmm, anyone want to guess which project the callers will support?


Then there's the LA Times editorial board, which ran a piece in today's paper arguing that the decision on the Gold and Expo Lines should be put off until after the November election when county voters may have a chance to vote on a half-cent sales tax increase to fund transit projects. If the sale-tax measure should pass (currently there appears to be a 71% approval for the increase), then there would be enough money to go around.