Op-Ed: Leading transit across county line – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

The following Op-Ed originally appeared on the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin website on Saturday, September 8, 2012.

Leading transit across county line
Councilmen Sam Pedroza and Doug Tessitor

The Daily Bulletin got it right Aug. 26 by applauding Gov. Jerry Brown for signing into law Assembly Bill 1600 – legislation that would allow the Metro Gold Line light rail system to one day extend beyond Los Angeles County into San Bernardino County. This legislation, which was authored by Assembly Member Norma Torres and co-authored by Sens. Bob Huff, Carol Liu and Ed Hernandez and Assembly Member Anthony Portantino, envisions a future sustainable transportation option that ignores arbitrary county lines and sees the importance of connecting people and destinations.

As members of the Construction Authority board of directors responsible for planning, designing and building the Metro Gold Line out along the foothills of the San Gabriel and Pomona Valleys, we are focused on making this vision a reality. The Construction Authority is under way on construction of the first of two 12-mile segments of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension project. The first segment will extend the line from its current terminus in Pasadena, adding stations in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa and opening new connections to the corridor’s colleges and universities, nationally recognized medical facilities and regionally significant entertainment venues. This segment is on schedule to be completed in late 2015.

The authority is also focused on finalizing plans for the second proposed extension that would connect L.A. and San Bernardino Counties – the Foothill Extension
from Azusa to Montclair. The Construction Authority recently released its draft environmental impact report for this segment, which is out for a 45-day public review period. Once the environmental process is completed later this year, the Construction Authority will begin work on more detailed engineering for the segment, while seeking the necessary funding to build it.

Without AB 1600, the second segment east would have ended in Claremont rather than Montclair, missing an important opportunity to seamlessly connect the Gold Line to thousands of transit riders using the Montclair TransCenter just a few miles away. As the newspaper correctly points out, “traffic is not a respecter of county lines.” We have all felt the recent “post-Labor Day” change in traffic on the 210 Freeway, a daily reminder of this fact.

We want to commend Assembly Member Torres for her continued commitment to completing the vision of bringing the Gold Line east into San Bernardino County (one day, hopefully reaching Ontario International Airport). Her ongoing leadership is helping pave the way for a more sustainable future for us all – no matter which side of the county line we live on.

Sam Pedroza is a member of the Claremont City Council and chairman of the Metro Gold Line Phase II Joint Powers Authority. Doug Tessitor is a member of the Glendora City Council and chairman of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, the agency overseeing planning, design and construction of the $1.6 billion Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension light rail project from Pasadena to Montclair.

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