The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority hosted an event to discuss the Metro Gold Line extension to Montclair – and the Los Angeles County ballot measure that would fund the project – last week in the Smith Campus Center at Pomona College.
The project will add 12.3 miles of track and six stations from Glendora to Montclair. Stations will be in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair. Currently, the Gold Line runs from East Los Angeles to Azusa.
The proposed extension will cross county lines from Los Angeles County to San Bernardino County.
“We are a ready project,” said Habib Balian, Chief Executive Officer for the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. “With that, we started in 2003 after phase one of Los Angeles to Pasadena was completed. We went right into the planning phase in 2004 that looked at the project all the way from Pasadena to the county line.”
The opening session included remarks from Balian, Chief Project Officer of Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Chris Burner, and Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Los Angeles County Metro Stephanie Wiggins.
The session provided background to the project as well as projections for completion of the extension. A key point of discussion was ballot Measure M, a sales tax measure proposed in Los Angeles County to raise the additional $1.2 billion needed to complete construction as well as fund other projects to improve transportation in Los Angeles County.
If approved by voters, Measure M would go into effect July 2017 with a half cent increase in the sales tax, and will go up to a full cent in 2039 after Measure R expires.
“Measure R was a down payment on major projects,” Wiggins said. “Measure M, if approved, can fully fund a majority of Measure R projects.”
The funding plan for this project currently relies on the approval of Measure M on the Nov. 8 ballot.
“It doesn’t look very good if Measure M does not pass,” Balian said “With this project, we all got behind this Measure as the most logical way it will be built. When we talk about a possible plan B, we look at the federal government and the federal pot of money is so small that we would be at least 30 years out of completing if we were to go after federal dollars.”
Following the opening discussion was a series of three panels that discussed the benefits that the Gold Line extension will bring to higher education, pedestrian activity and long-term local and regional benefits.
The panel in higher education featured members of higher education institutions along the current Gold Line that spoke about the advantages that the presence of the Line has presented to their respective institutions. The final portion of the panel had a presentation from Do Kim and Rick Willson of California State Polytechnic University, Pomona. They presented a research study on travel patterns of students and staff from their institution and how having the Gold Line will provide better transportation for all those a part of the campus community.
Currently, the Gold Line runs from East Los Angeles to Azusa, the proposed extension will cross county lines of Los Angeles County and San Bernardino County.
The station location for La Verne would be located east of E Street and north of Arrow Highway, between the University of La Verne and the Fairplex. It would be located across the street from the Oaks Residence Hall.
“The Gold Line will definitely be a huge opportunity for the University of La Verne due to the proximity of the station to campus,” Kim said.
“This project is such a winner for our La Verne community,” former Mayor of La Verne Jon Blickenstaff said.
Blickenstaff is also a former board member of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority and feels that this is a project of his.
Christina Garcia can be reached at email@example.com.