The following excerpt appeared in the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on April 9, 2021. To read the full article (may require subscription), click here.
Could light-rail to Montclair find a spot in Biden’s infrastructure plan? – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin
By Steve Scauzillo
April 9, 2021
Elected officials and transportation managers are talking with President Biden’s cabinet and key Congressional leaders about including funds for a Metro L Line extension from Pomona to Montclair within the president’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan.
While Biden’s plan lays out money for roadways, bridges, water systems, fiber optics and schools, it also sets aside $85 billion for mass transit projects — a potential fit for the planned 3.3-mile light-rail extension to Montclair that fell short of money two years ago.
Rep. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, who helped write the bill while in the state Legislature to extend the L Line (formerly the Gold Line) from its current terminus in Azusa to Montclair, has been talking to Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which funds and operates the light-rail line, and U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg about including the extension in Biden’s plan.
Previously, construction projects on the light-rail line always relied on funds from local tax measures, such as L.A. County’s measures M and R and some state dollars. In order to receive federal dollars, the project would need to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act. This requires a federal environmental review.
“Complying with NEPA could take two to three years to complete or longer,” Balian said. The Pomona to Montclair extension was originally scheduled to open in 2028. Even with federal dollars, however, it could be pushed back to 2030 or 2031.
Torres said local transportation officials realize “federalizing” the project is the only way to get the extension built.
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