Runaway Train

29Aug07

The Metro Gold Line extension from Pasadena to Montclair is moving forward.

The question is, how? How is it possible that this line is so much further along in terms of planning than the Purple Line to Santa Monica? Further long than the Expo Line Phase II? Further along than any other proposed rail line in L.A. County?

Cities served by the Metro Gold Line: Arcadia, Monrovia, Irwindale, Bradbury, Duarte, Azusa, Glendora, San Dimas, Laverne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair

What do they know that other cities do not? Evidently, a lot.

From the SGV Tribune:

Gold Line officials say they were not counting on state money for the project. They plan to obtain federal funds from the Federal Transportation Agency next year.

“(State funds) were never part of the project plan,” said Habib Balian, CEO of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority. “If we relied on the state or the MTA for our funds, it would never get built.”

“We are going through this huge effort to get the MTA to commit this money, to beg for scraps for the San Gabriel Valley, when it is really a freebie for the MTA,” said Balian. “They don’t have to spend anything to build it. They just have to drive the choo-choo train in 2011.”

You have to wonder if this model would work for a Ventura Boulevard subway, or the extension of the Purple Line to Santa Monica? I have yet to see any website hinting at a coordinated effort for the Subway to the Sea. Or any other rail line for that matter. That’s why the MTA needs a complete master plan. Draw the map, then get the cities along those proposed lines to get on board.

Facts about the Gold Line extension:

  • 24-mile light rail line
  • $2.1 billion in public and private investment has already gone into developing projects within a half mile of proposed stations
  • Would spur more than $36 billion in new private development, generate up to $6.2 billion in new household spending through 2030 and add nearly $1.5 billion in property and sales tax revenue for local cities over the next 30 years
  • Already completed an environmental study of the project, settled on station locations with all but one of the corridor cities, and owns the railroad right-of-way
  • Submitted federal bill that would allow the authority to leverage the almost $1 billion spent on the first leg of the Gold Line from downtown L.A. to Pasadena to secure matching funds from the government

For your weekend excursions to Azusa in 2011, use map below.

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