The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority has announced a $764 million funding gap for the next planned leg of the light rail line from Azusa to Claremont near the L.A. County line. That $1.574 billion, 23-mile extension would add on to the to the 11-mile extension being built now between Pasadena and Azusa that is scheduled to become operational in early 2016. The next leg would be completed in 2021 but would still come up short of the target destination of Montclair and the Ontario Airport in San Bernardino County. That last leg would need to be funded separately.
The Metro Construction Authority says that $810 million of the Azusa-to-Claremont leg has been allocated from monies derived from the 2008 Measure R 1/2-cents sales tax that has funded the current extension through Arcadia and many other Metro projects.
But that tax had a built-in sunset, meaning it will come to an end unless legislators ask voters to extend it.
“It is important to recognize that the voters approved the project to Claremont, but Measure R allocates enough funding to complete the project only to Azusa,” said Construction Authority Board Chairman and Glendora Councilman Doug Tessitor. The Gold Line Extension board approved an expenditure plan and timeline that anticipates the gap funding will be needed starting in 2016, with environmental clearance for the Azusa to Montclair segment expected to be obtained later this year. It will then take a few years to complete preliminary engineering and design for the second segment before it is ready for construction.
“There continues to be strong and unanimous support throughout the corridor to complete the light rail extension to Montclair and ultimately Ontario Airport,” said Tessitor. “The Construction Authority is committed to keeping the first segment to Azusa on schedule and budget, making it a success story for Measure R; while also preparing the second segment to Montclair for construction.”
The Construction Authority will now send the approved expenditure plan to Metro for their use in preparing a county-wide expenditure plan for Measure R.
— By Scott Hettrick