Claremont Insider: Gold Line Update - Special Meeting Today

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gold Line Update - Special Meeting Today

It's been a while since we passed along any Gold Line news. Albert at has been blogging about the project and writes that did receive $10.3 million last month from the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

This was teaser money that's supposed to be part of the $743 million the Gold Line Foothill Extension is slated to receive as part of the Measure R county sales tax increase that was passed last November to fund transportation projects.

Albert reports that the MTA board is holding a special meeting today at 1pm to talk about the MTA's Long Range Transportation Plan. One of the items up for discussion is the manner in which the Gold Line extension will be funded.

The MTA board seems to have been playing hide the ball with this meeting, having twice postponed the discussion. This may be because San Gabriel Valley residents keep showing up at board meetings to hold the MTA's feet to the fiscal fire. The MTA board, on the other hand, tends to be LA-centric, and has been accused in the past of underserving our part of the county.

Albert writes:

For San Gabriel Valley residents, it is important to remember what’s at stake in the plan. Metro has allocated $743 million for the Foothill Extension — $10.3 million in the coming fiscal year that begins July 1, which Metro approved last month. The allocation is larger than what Measure R afforded but it does not account for getting the line open to Azusa in 2013. Metro still needs to fund the operation of the line. That’s a fight for another day.

If you can make the meeting, that would be great, but because Metro was coy about the plan and potential of a vote we understand if you can’t attend. Of course, for those not attending, we’ll be covering the meeting live on our Twitter feed @iwillride. You can also listen live by calling in at (213) 922-6045.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune has an editorial today urging the MTA to get off the dime and include the Gold Line extension in the Long Range Transportation Plan. The SGVT editorial notes that the Gold Line, unlike things like LA's Westside Subway-to-the-Sea, is ready to break ground now and could be completed from Pasadena to Azusa by 2013.

Claremont Councilmember Sam Pedroza gets a mention in the editorial, incidentally. The SGVT piece says:
The efficient Gold Line staff has lined up public-private partnerships ready to begin the work by next spring. If we can help secure the long-promised financing to do so, the contracts can be let and service can be opened to the Azusa/Glendora stop, including service to Citrus College and Azusa Pacific College, by 2013, not by 2017, as the MTA's current plans are.

That's a huge time difference in reducing the 210 Freeway gridlock in our time.

In order for that to be accomplished, the Metro board should attach funding from the recently passed Measure R.

This is a classically shovel-ready project that can help relieve congestion and create jobs. And those jobs are not just on the tracks. A number of our cities have station-adjacent development projects hanging fire until the rail line is sure to come to town. Once the commitment is there, credit will loosen up and we'll witness a healthy boost of commerce and housing in the region as well.

If you are interested in attending, you can simply take the Gold Line from Pasadena to Union Station, or you can drive, though that might not be in keeping with the spirit of public transit. The MTA building is located east of the station. You can find the agenda here.
Special Meeting - Today, 1pm
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
One Gateway Plaza
Los Angeles, CA 90001

For information, call (213) 922-2000