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Train Stops in Azusa: No Measure R2 For Gold Line to Claremont

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As Metro pushes ahead with a possible indefinite extension of the Measure R sales tax increase, which if approved by voters would advance transportation dollars and speed up projects like the Purple Line extension and the Crenshaw Line, troops are massing at the Pasadena/Azusa border because a Gold Line extension from Azusa to Claremont would not be one of the projects funded, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. At the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments last week, Metro CEO Art Leahy announced, "Some of you are going to think I am a monster for saying this: The Gold Line is funded to Azusa. Period. There is no more money for the Gold Line (foothill extension)." While an extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Azusa is currently being built and will open in 2015 or '16, the expectation was that the line would soon be extended to Claremont (as well as to Montclair in San Bernardino County, and possibly even to Ontario Airport). San Gabriel Valley politicians and Habib Balian, CEO of the Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, are fuming, saying the original Measure R promised voters a Gold Line to Claremont.

"The misconception voiced by Metro is that we are insisting on funding the remainder of the project exclusively using Measure R funds. Not true," Balian writes in an email blast. "We ask that they include the true total cost to complete the Foothill Extension to Claremont in the expenditure plan, and provide a strategy for funding project completion through a combination of federal, state and local funds." The sad truth is that an extension to Claremont might not have high enough ridership projections to get federal funds (Metro is seeking Uncle Sam's help in building the Purple Line and the Regional Connector, which will likely have blockbuster riderships).

If not included in Measure R2, the Claremont extension wouldn't be considered for funding until 2050. The SGVN, culling from Metro's website, reports the following projects would benefit from Measure R2's $3.7 billion bounty: "The Metro Connector to LAX; the Green Line Extension to the South Bay; the West Santa Ana Corridor transit project; the Regional Connector (in downtown L.A.) and the Gold Line Eastside Extension from East L.A. to either South El Monte or Whittier. The third phase of the Westside Subway Extension could be completed to Westwood by 2022 instead of 2036."
· MTA Executive: Gold Line not part of new Measure R plan [SGVT]
· Metro Moving Ahead With Measure R Extension to Speed Up All Kinds of Juicy Transit [Curbed LA]