By Jason Henry, June 18, 2014
A group of San Gabriel Valley business leaders on Wednesday called on
Metro to fulfill a promise to voters to extend the Gold Line from Azusa
to Claremont by adding the project to a recently-released plan.
draft of its Short Range Transportation Plan released earlier this
month by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority incensed stakeholders
when it did not include the Claremont extension. Proponents argued
Metro agreed to the project when voters passed Measure R, a half-cent
sales tax, in 2008.
“We are concerned that the Metro will not keep its promise to
voters who approved Measure R to complete the Gold Line to Claremont,”
stated Cynthia Kurtz, president and CEO of San Gabriel Valley Economic
Partnership, “The completion of this project is vital to this region
where nearly one-fifth of Los Angeles County residents reside.”
along with the heads of 11 San Gabriel Valley chambers of commerce,
signed a letter to Metro’s Transportation Planning Manager Robert Calix
that urges Metro to amend their plan to include the Claremont segment.
The letter joins previous calls from legislators and other stakeholders
for Metro to finish its complete foothills extension.
“The Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont was one of only
two Measure R rail transit capital projects identified in 2009 as a
‘first priority’ project for new funding. The now fully funded Crenshaw
Line was the other project,” the letter states. “As currently drafted,
the SRTP completely ignores the Azusa-to-Claremont segment of the Gold
Line. It does not even include completion of this second segment in the
portion of the SRTP that assumes new funding becoming available.”
first phase of the Gold Line’s expansion — from Pasadena to Azusa — is
under construction now, but the second phase to Claremont stalled
because Measure R does not have the funds to pay for it, said Metro
Spokesman Paul Gonzales.
“It’s not like we’re not hearing this, we are hearing it, and it
is something that we’re working on and it’s something that we’re working
toward, but currently there is not adequate funding to get it there,”
The partnership’s letter indicates that the
Pasadena-to-Azusa segment is on schedule and on budget for a September
2015 completion. The Azusa-to-Claremont extension “is environmentally
cleared and will be ready for design-build in 2017.”
While the project got environmental clearance from the state, federal clearance is still pending, Gonzales said.
part of the long-range plan, but currently there is not enough funding
for it,” he said. “That doesn’t mean that part couldn’t change. We just
have to wait and see.”
Metro’s board will vote on the short-range plan at its July board meeting.