San Gabriel Valley cities, legislators want Gold Line Foothill Extension included in new Measure R plans

This story appears in the May 31, 2012 online editions of the San Gabriel Valley Tribune and the Pasadena Star News.

By Steve Scauzillo, SGVN
Posted:   05/31/2012 06:33:21 PM PDT
IRWINDALE — San Gabriel Valley cities and legislators spoke in one voice Thursday, saying they needed to know exactly what local rail and highway projects would be funded before they would support a ballot measure making permanent Measure R, the half-cent sales tax passed by voters in 2008 that expires in 2039.Members of the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, meeting here as the transportation committee, withheld a motion to deny support to Assembly Bill 1446, saying they would revisit the issue next month. The bill would extend the 30-year funding source indefinitely. The bill was approved by the Assembly and awaits approval of the state Senate and the governor. If approved, it would appear on the November ballot and require two-thirds voter approval.

The bill, by Los Angeles Assemblyman Mike Feuer, would allow the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accelerate funding for projects by borrowing against future revenues.

Despite the possibility of the San Gabriel Valley realizing a windfall of $823 million in highway funds available in the next 10 years, the COG and local members of Congress and the state Legislature said they could not support the measure without seeing more specifics. Many at the meeting were concerned that the measure will speed up funding for a subway to the westside and a regional connector rail project in downtown Los Angeles, projects preferred by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, while leaving funding and a timeline for San Gabriel Valley projects uncertain.

The COG committee grilled Art Leahy, CEO of MTA, on why the Gold Line Foothill Extension from Azusa to Claremont was not considered. The Gold Line Construction Authority needs about $800 million to complete this second phase. The COG argued that Measure R specifically listed the Gold Line extension to Claremont in 2008. Leahy called the wording “ambiguous.”

Leahy said the MTA would have a more definitive project list “with numbers” sometime in the next two weeks. The COG said it would wait to examine the new information before taking a position on the bill.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *