Light rail to Pomona ‘halfway there’ but supporters of extension to Claremont, Montclair ‘live on a prayer’ – Daily News
Construction of the L Line (formerly Gold Line) light rail extension from Glendora to Pomona is 50% complete, a milestone celebrated by dozens of supporters Friday in San Dimas.
The 31-mile-long train line, stretching from Azusa to East Los Angeles via Pasadena and Downtown LA, will add the 9.1 mile extension to Pomona as of January 2025, making it 40.1 miles long, the longest light rail line in service in the LA subway system.
Built entirely during the pandemic, getting halfway was a feat was not lost on Habib Balian, managing director of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. “The global pandemic is not going to stop this train,” he said during his address to around 150 people.
The extension will include four new stations at Glendora, La Verne, San Dimas and Pomona, and 21 level crossings, as well as 19 new or renovated bridges, including a new concrete bridge at San Dimas which served as the backdrop for the proceedings of Friday.
While more than a dozen supporters from the cities, Sacramento and Washington D.C. praised the project, many also spoke optimistically about the addition of a 3.1-mile Pomona to Montclair section that would be the first LA County light rail line to cross the San Bernardino. County line, in Montclair.
This part – once included in the construction plans – fell without funding and is no longer in the builder’s contract. He will need a transfer of state funds of about $748 million to resuscitate him, plus either a new contract or an extension of the existing one.
As Governor Gavin Newsom announced a budget surplus of $98 billion last month, including about $5 billion for transit projects, hopes for LA Metro or the Construction Authority to tap into the surplus of the Pomona-Montclair line remained as gloomy on Friday as the weather.
After speeches and pep talks, a Bon Jovi song reflected the progress and also the fading hope that the twin cities of Claremont and Montclair will get light rail transit. Heard from the speakers was, “Woah, we’re halfway there. Woah, live on a prayer.
Last year, the chance to secure state funding slipped through the fingers of the San Gabriel Valley caucus, who said budget negotiators could not agree on funding for the train to statewide high-speed — and it sank any hope of shifting funds to local rail projects. .
Friday was not a prayer, but a dream that Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, referred to when he spoke of seeing the train arrive in Montclair. “I went to bed at night and woke up in the morning with $748 million on my mind,” he told the crowd.
The bad news came in 2019 when the price of Claremont work has skyrocketed, he said. The San Bernardino County Transportation Authority has set aside about $90 million to bring it about a mile into the Montclair TransCenter, a hub equipped to handle the train.
Acting like a football coach declaring a Super Bowl win, he said to thunderous applause, “I guarantee you we’ll get that $748 million to finish this project at Montclair.”
Why is an LA-based light rail trolley connecting the Inland Empire so important?
The figures published by a study by LA Metro indicates that the addition of the two stations would generate more than 50% of new ridership for the electric tram line, while eliminating 53% of car journeys and 60% of vehicle kilometers travelled. In total, the extension to Montclair is expected to add 7,700 new boardings on the L line each weekday by 2028 and eliminate 14,900 car trips each day, mostly from highways 210 and 10, according to the letters.
For “IE” residents who work in Los Angeles, having a public transit line that arrives every 7-10 minutes during peak hours and 15-20 minutes off-peak may convince them to leave their car at home. The train would become an alternative to the 3 million vehicle trips made every day in cities in the L line corridor, only 3% of which are made in transit, transit officials said.
The two cities, along with the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments, as well as state senators and assembly members from both counties, have been advocating for decades for the inter-county line as a way to connect the commuters and weekend travelers with a more frequent, less expensive transit rail service that could take cars off congested east-west highways, like the 10 and 210.
“The Gold Line is our community’s most important project,” said Rep. Grace Napolitano, D-El Monte, whose district includes the L-Line towns of Azusa, Duarte, Monrovia, La Verne and San Dimas. .
Montclair City Manager Edward Starr, also at the midway celebration, said the city had planned for the project which was due to arrive in 2016, 2018, 2022 and 2024. If a second blow to state funding actually happens, the fastest the expansion can be completed is 2028, he said.
If the state says “no” again, Montclair is working to claw back federal infrastructure funds. That would require federal legislation authorizing the use of federal funds for a state project, he said. “I hear positive hope. The governor didn’t say ‘no’,” Starr said in an interview. He said lawmakers such as State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, and Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Pomona, have made it a top priority.
Supervisor Hilda Solis, Chair of the LA Metro Board of Directors, and Supervisor Kathryn Barger, also a member of the Metro Board of Directors, both commented on the state budget surplus and possible station funding Claremont, Montclair. Solis said, “We need a lot more support from our state officials.”
Barger had the audience laughing when she added, “Our state officials are sitting on a lot of money.”