Post Measure R Forum Update and Funding Clarification from Habib Balian

If you missed our live-tweet @iwillride of the Measure R and Economic Recovery Information Forum this past Saturday, below is a summary of the meeting and an update on the status of funding for the Foothill Extension that was recently sent out from the Construction Authority’s CEO, Habib Balian. You can still visit our Twitter page to go more in-depth into the conversations that took place at the forum.

There was also a video that was shown at the Measure R Forum entitled “Waiting.” Care to guess what it’s referring to? The video is pasted below and also contains a tune known to brighten your day.

On Saturday, Assemblymember Ed Hernandez and the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus hosted a Measure R and Economic Recovery Information Forum where elected leaders – including Assemblymember Mike Eng, Mayors Joe Rocha of Azusa, John Fasana of Duarte and Cory Calaycay of Claremont, City Councilmembers Keith Hanks of Azusa (Construction Authority chair), Doug Tessitor of Glendora (JPA chair) and Sam Pedroza of Claremont – along with Construction Authority gubernatorial appointee Lara Larramendi and Ed Rendon of the Teamsters Joint Council 42 – outlined the economic and jobs benefits that the Gold Line and other Measure R projects will bring to the fastest-growing portion of Los Angeles County.  Councilmember Uriel Macias from Azusa and Citrus College Trustee Sue Keith were also in attendance providing support.  Along with presentations focused on Foothill Extension readiness, Caltrans projects, and Alameda Corridor East progress, there was a candid discussion and Measure R Delivery update by Metro’s new chief executive officer, Art Leahy.

Leahy emphasized the Foothill Extension is a priority for Metro but he did not commit to when the funds will flow. “We are duty bound, honor bound, to do the project,” Leahy told the nearly 100 people in attendance at the Azusa Senior Center. He also recognized there is a rift between the Westside and San Gabriel Valley leaders and pledged to work to build consensus on the long-range plan.

Metro is currently analyzing financial data to determine how and when it will fund the projects promised to voters in the November ballot initiative.  The board will discuss its finances and planning this Thursday (special board meeting on the budget), May 20 (public hearing on the budget and long-range plan) and May 28 (general board meeting).  There is no Measure R Oversight Committee meeting in May.

Lastly, you may have heard some news that the Gold Line received federal stimulus package funding.  The news refers to funding provided to the Eastside Extension, not the Foothill Extension.  The Eastside Extension is scheduled to open in about a month.  As we confirmed this morning, so-called “New Starts” stimulus rail funding went to projects currently in the federal grants stage. Had Metro included the Foothill Extension in its previous attempts at updating Long Range Transportation Plan and committed a small amount of funding, we would have been positioned to compete.  As it stands today, our efforts are focused on securing Metro’s commitment of Measure R funding in 2010; this means revenue service to Azusa in 2013.  The Extension is guaranteed to receive at least $735 million to help us build the line to Claremont by 2017.  The total project cost from Pasadena to Montclair is $1.2 billion.

The Journey Continues…

Habib F. Balian

Video Shown at Measure R Forum: “Waiting”

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