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Bring Your Shovels to the Groundbreaking – It’s Official

Posted by Albert

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The Citrus College owl and Bob Davis knew this day was coming.

UPDATE: CHANGE IN GROUNDBREAKING DATE – to better accommodate the schedules of many San Gabriel Valley residents, the Authority has moved the groundbreaking to June 26, 2010 (previously on June 19). So save this date. Remember it. Leave post-it notes everywhere, as far as the eye can see. Write it on both palms on your hands. If you’re that forgetful, maybe key it onto the side of your car.

It’s going to be that big.

In what has been the biggest day for the San Gabriel Valley since the Long Range Transportation Plan was approved last October, the Metro Board of Directors unanimously voted yesterday to approve the funding and master cooperative agreements that would officially allow the Authority to move forward with the groundbreaking and construction of the Gold Line Foothill Extension this June. The effort to officially become the first Measure R light rail project to break ground may have seemed like an eternity for some folks, but the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority had been working with Metro staff through countless meetings in the past three months to hammer out these agreements. Great job to both sides.

The funding agreement sets in stone (or paper) the transfer of nearly $700 million from Metro (via Measure R tax revenue) to the Authority over a 10 year period towards the construction of Phase 2A (Pasadena to Azusa), and provides for an additional $110 million to be used in later years for Phase 2B (Azusa to Montclair). The master cooperative agreement basically sets the oversight rules between Metro and the Authority – since it is Metro that will be running the line after the Authority completes construction.

While there was a little bit of a tug of war between the two bodies to find the right level of review and approval over every aspect of the design and construction of the Extension, both sides were able to come to an agreement in the end that satisfied the needs of both agencies. Another significant aspect of this agreement is that, in addition to being applied to the Foothill Extension, it will serve as a framework for similar agreements in future transit projects throughout Los Angeles County.

Enough of this dry jibberish. What does this really mean?

The timely approval of these two agreements means that the Authority’s construction schedule… will be on schedule. There are currently six teams vying to win the design-build contract to begin construction of the Iconic Freeway Structure this summer, and four more teams turned in Statements of Qualifications earlier this week, looking to be pre-qualified to design, build and finance the Phase 2A Alignment work.

This also means that:

  • thousands of construction workers (one of the worse hit job sectors) will be put back to work
  • almost $1 billion in economic benefits will come to the region as a result of the construction
  • thousands of non-construction jobs will be created as a result of the Extension
  • in 2014, the cities of Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale, and Azusa will be connected via light-rail to Metro’s rapidly-expanding transit network
  • more San Gabriel Valley residents will be able to skip the 210 gridlock to and from work
  • more San Gabriel Valley residents will have some extra change in their pockets
  • and more! (if you can think of something, you’re probably right)

See you on June 19 June 26!

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15 Responses to “Bring Your Shovels to the Groundbreaking – It’s Official”

  1. ROBERT PEREZ says:

    GREAT, THIS WILL HELP THE CHOKED 210 FRWY AT BALDWIN TO THE 605, WILL REDUCE SMOG ,, GREAT GREAT AND GREAT

  2. Scott Lawson says:

    Yea! I am ready to ride! I live in Claremont and it will be great to get it all the way there, but my wife and I will drive to Azuza to hop on and get to LA, East LA and Pasadena! Great job folks!

  3. Ellen Taylor says:

    It’s about time! I am so delighted that we are moving east on the Gold Line. I plan to ride it often from Claremont to LA – and places in between. It will bring back memories of riding the “T” in Boston and the Metro in Chicago or D. C.. Finally time for us on the west coast to have some decent public transit.

  4. Bob Davis says:

    June 19th is already in my datebook, and since we’ll probably be running at least one and possibly several Pacific Electric Red Cars at Orange Empire Railway Museum, we can honor electric railways past and future on the same day. I’m also looking way forward to the next phase–I can envision the Citrus Owl exchanging high-fives with Cecil Sagehen, the Pomona College mascot.

  5. Joseph M. says:

    Reminds me of a very insightful documentary that is almost imposible to find, “taken for a ride”, it’s must see material for anyony interested in the mass transit system we west coasters here in California once had. It’s the crazziest story I ever heard of. Automotive manufacture’s like General Motors-bought up the old system in order to make room on the streets for the automobile. It’s nice to see today the to can co exist. A mass trasit system in California is long long overdue. Thank you and please continue to build our transit, wherever humans need it. Great work team!

  6. Steve says:

    It’s great to see common sense prevail. I have driven the 210 every day for 13 years and have seen the traffic go from bad to worse to ridiculous. At last, progress on a real solution to the problem.

    Thanks to all involved. I will ride!

  7. Jesse Perez says:

    If Congressman David Dreier would have been doing his job this project would have been done 5 years ago. Jacob Perez La Verne

  8. Kari W says:

    I’m thrilled! I know I will have to give up my favorite shortcut for one of the new stations and construction before that, but more than worth that inconvenience. People who don’t commute the 210 don’t understand the urgency. A friend coming from Pasadena to Monrovia last night took an hour and was in disbelief, wondering why the traffic was so bad. It was a normal Friday night!

  9. Alan K. Weeks says:

    I have been a supporter of the Gold Line for over twenty years. I attended most of the planning meetings and wrote dozens of letters to officials and newspapers. So it was with great pleasure that I attended the MTA Board Meeting and saw the final green light voted on. A great day for all of us in the area. Congratulations to all of the students and this web site for their efforts. I do differ with Jesse. I would give Congressman Dreier a great deal of credit for making this extension happen. He played a key role behind the scenes. Also sorry to see Joseph has bought into the Myth of GM destroying rail transit.
    I saw the documentary and it had errors of fact. There were bits of truth like any myth. Most historians discredit parts or all of the theory. The main destroyer of Electric rail transit was the Automobile I lived in Los Angeles during this period and have retired from the Transit Industry.

  10. Carol says:

    Yes! We have been waiting for so long for this dream to come true. There are so many people who rely on public transportation whose lives will be changed by this. Not to mention the environmental impact. Way to go! I just hope it takes less time than projected to build, not more.

  11. Aurie Francisco says:

    Just want to say I’m so happy to know that it is finally here. All the growling, and perseverance is paying off. I would like to see that shovel hit the ground on June 2010. I don’t have to drive to Pasadena, I’ll just have to ride it a short distance from my house in Azusa, and going to work in East LA. So, so happy!!! ;-)

  12. Darren says:

    This is great news.It will be a more affordable alternative to cars and the Metrolink.

  13. Aaron Whitham says:

    I love the idea of the line going all the way to ONT. My family loves taking the Flyaway service to LAX. This will be a long-time-coming capablity for the Inland Empire traveling needs. Hoping things stay on budget and on time!

  14. Bob Davis says:

    With the groundbreaking now set for June 26, there won’t be a conflict with Pacific Electric Weekend at Orange Empire. That’s June 19-20, when OERM honors a major part of our Southern California railway heritage. Big Red Cars, a 63 ton electric locomotive (built in Torrance), and other relics of the PE will be on display or running. Find out how we traveled in the days when the San Gabriel Valley was known for orange groves, not traffic jams. Check “oerm.org” for more information. Then on the 26th we look forward to our future. Travel better electrically!

  15. I have been a supporter of the Gold Line for over twenty years. I attended most of the planning meetings and wrote dozens of letters to officials and newspapers. So it was with great pleasure that I attended the MTA Board Meeting and saw the final green light voted on. A great day for all of us in the area. Congratulations to all of the students and this web site for their efforts. I do differ with Jesse. I would give Congressman Dreier a great deal of credit for making this extension happen. He played a key role behind the scenes. Also sorry to see Joseph has bought into the Myth of GM destroying rail transit.I saw the documentary and it had errors of fact. There were bits of truth like any myth. Most historians discredit parts or all of the theory. The main destroyer of Electric rail transit was the Automobile I lived in Los Angeles during this period and have retired from the Transit Industry.
    +1

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