Claremont Insider: Gold Line: "I'm Not Dead Yet"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Gold Line: "I'm Not Dead Yet"

Rumors of the Metro Gold Line's Foothill Extension's demise may be greatly exaggerated says Congressman Adam Schiff (D-Pasadena). The Pasadena Star-News ran an Op-Ed piece by Schiff last week in which Schiff argued that playing off the Gold Line against the proposed Expo Line Phase II to Santa Monica is a losing strategy.

Recall that at it's last meeting on June 26th, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority voted to put off until November considering the Gold Line Extension as part of the MTA's Long Range Transportation Plan. Inclusion of the plan is a key to the Gold Line's securing what Schiff calls potentially hundreds of millions of federal dollars that require MTA matching funds. According to Schiff the federal grant money require as little as a 20-percent match.

Schiff says that the Gold Line is ready to go while the Expo Line's Phase II is still a few years from being eligible for the federal money. He believes MTA should push for the sure Gold Line money now and then he will work with his fellow congressmen to try to secure funds for the the Expo Line:

There has been much debate about the merits of the Gold Line versus the Expo Extension, but the Los Angeles region desperately needs both these projects. And while some may claim that these two extensions are in competition for local and federal funds, they need not be, and we must not create a destructive zero-sum game by playing one line's advocates off against another's.

The Gold Line is the only project in Southern California that is ready to begin construction now and is already eligible for federal funding. Expo Phase II is an important and valuable transit project, but it is still a few years away from such eligibility and construction. If funding is provided today, the Gold Line can begin operation in 2012. According to MTA's estimates, EXPO Phase Two will not begin service until 2016. We should not delay construction of the Gold Line, when we can have the opportunity and the resources to build both.

The MTA long range plan does not currently have a strategy to access much-needed federal funds for several years. If the board does not provide a local match, we leave hundreds of millions of federal dollars on the table that will be directed elsewhere in the state or country. And, if the Gold Line funding is approved now, construction will be well under way when Expo is ready to begin breaking ground, allowing the entire Los Angeles Congressional delegation to focus on securing federal funds for the Expo Line.

Schiff ends by asking readers to join him in urging the MTA to include the Gold Line in their Long Range Transportation Plan, but his piece doesn't say how to go about doing this. The MTA does have a meeting next Thursday, July 24th, at 9am, and you might try to emailing the MTA before that at:

You can also email your Gold Line concerns to L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich's office at: [Point of clarification: Supervisor Antonovich has been very supportive of the Gold Line Foothill Extension. You can read a transportation policy editorial by Antonovich that appeared in a Santa Clarita paper yesterday.]

If you're interested in attending the MTA board meeting here's the information:
Metropolitan Transportation Authority
Regular Board Meeting - Thursday, July 24th, 9:30am
One Gateway Plaza, 3rd Floor Board Room
Los Angeles, CA 90012

And for more information on what's happening with the Gold Line Extension, click here.