Ara Najarian: Let’s Get Along

The Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority held a workshop on Tuesday to pursue partnerships with the private sector in an attempt to accelerate construction of the Foothill Extension. While the focus of the day was all business for Authority CEO Habib Balian and the many firms present, our focus was on the keynote speech delivered by Metro Chairman Ara Najarian – and what a speech it was. The videos of the speech are posted below, but if you don’t have time to listen to a 12 minute speech (nobody blames you if you don’t), we’ve bullet-pointed the highlights for you.

Part 1 Part 2

Highlights from Ara’s keynote:

  • He was skeptical that Measure R would pass. He was also one of the opponents of Measure R at the time because of equity/lack of fair distribution of revenue. However, proponents get kudos for getting county to vote for Measure R.
  • Measure R will not only change the fabric of every community in the county, but it will also change how we, as a region, are perceived by the world.
  • In explaining the delay in passing the Long Range Transportation Plan, Ara noted that there was a lot of discord among the regions when he became Chair. He didn’t want to pass the LRTP with a 7-6 or 8-5 vote. He felt that would send the wrong signal to our county, Sacramento, and Washington.
  • They are working hard to get federal funding. Very few regions in the country have made the same kind of commitment to transportation funding. But other cities have done a great job lobbying Washington for money.
  • As the car culture center of the world, our county makes the best case for federal funding because we’re trying to get drivers out of their cars. If people start using the Foothill Extension, it should be a model for the rest of the country.
  • The Subway to the Sea and Regional Connector were chosen to apply for federal funding because they don’t have initial funding from Measure R.
  • There were forces inside Metro who wanted to kill the Gold Line Foothill Extension. But he has been trying to get everyone back together on the same page because we can’t succeed as a county if every sub-region only pushes their projects.
  • Our residents are committed to transit funding, and we need to sell that commitment to Washington.
  • Because the Foothill Extension will have several transit-oriented developments around its stations, there’s no reason why it can’t get HUD (Housing and Urban Development) funding as well. Would also get EPA benefits.
  • Ara will put pressure on Metro CEO Art Leahy to break ground on the Foothill Extension before his term as Chair ends on June 30, 2010. He wanted in on the fun of a groundbreaking.

For a breakdown of the workshop itself, the Pasadena Star-News has a report.


  1. […] Metro Board Chair Najarian Speaks to I Will Ride […]

  2. Peter says:

    “The Subway to the Sea and Regional Connector were chosen to apply for federal funding because they don’t have initial funding from Measure R.”

    100% FALSE
    – the subway and regional connector are the MOST COMPETITIVE transit projects in the County (and, in fact, west of the Mississippi) – THATS why they will obtain federal funding (and why Foothill never will no matter what Albert, with his lack of any transportation, urban planning or FTA knowledge, says).

    “There were forces inside Metro who wanted to kill the Gold Line Foothill Extension.” GOD BLESS THEM! There are actually educated professionals out there that know it is a waste of money to build a rail line to cities like Irwindale when there are HIGHLY DENSE, CROWDED corridors in this county that deserve rail transit IMMEDIATELY (and where hundreds of thousands of people actually DEPEND on transit everyday). But never mind that – Albert has actually spoken to lots of people who SAY they are going to use transit once Foothill is built -they actually SAID it folks! they WILL ride! nevermind the huge population of people who ALREADY ride the most crowded bus lines in the County – they don’t deserve anything because the SGV, with all of its highways and parking lots, should get its “fair share” first.

  3. SGV Resident says:

    Peter – your rants about how on undeserving SGV is for a light rail are unjustified. Yes, Irwindale has few residents but they have the jobs. One look at the 210 freeway and you can see people are going somewhere. Stop being a hater like some of the Metro members and lets get transportation projects constructed.

  4. Steve Sdbrg says:

    thats right Peter.. “lets get all together before june 2010 so that “someone” will not lose that fun”.. its about “fair Share” and about trying to grab capital from DC before even form a one punch opinion in LA.

    And by the way… the “big Gorilla” North East definitely Deserve a whole that money cause at the end of the day it is the Capital of the World.. not only financial.
    If we had politicians in SoCal cities HALF good as in NY we’d be way ahead.

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