After initially rejecting a proposed extension of the Measure R tax, which provides billions for transit and highway projects, San Gabriel Valley politicians are now back on the wagon, reports the Whittier Daily News. The San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments voted 19-4 last week to endorse an extension of Measure R's life for another 30 years, to 2069 (if all goes as planned, the extension will be on the November ballot). That would allow Metro to sell bonds against the revenue stream, and build projects like the Purple Line extension and a further Eastside extension of the Gold Line more quickly. The SGVCOG had been upset that Measure R2 funding didn't include funds for a Gold Line Foothill extension to Claremont (it's currently being built out from eastern Pasadena to Azusa). The turnaround came thanks to Duarte city councilman and Metro boardmember John Fasana, who authored an amendment allowing Metro to shift more Measure R freeway monies to transit projects--if Measure R2 passes, the San Gabriel Valley will now get $823 million that can be used for any project.
The SGVCOG and Fasana want $200 million of that to complete area railroad underpasses, with the rest directed to the Gold Line. Under the plan, the Claremont extension will still be $200 million short--you'd think if they want the extension so bad, they'd shelve the railroad underpasses--but it appears that they believe they can come up with the rest of the dough through other sources.
Another issue is that the Gold Line Construction Authority is pissed about the new Measure R expenditure plans, saying it's not legal because it doesn't completely fund the Claremont extension--something promised in the original Measure R ballot initiative. The authority also fears that other projects, like the Green Line connection to LAX, will get the go-ahead before the Gold Line. If the GLCA sues over that, a lawsuit could muck up Measure R2's tight timeline as the state senate, the governor, and the County Board of Supervisors all have to approve the ballot measure in just a few short months.
· San Gabriel Valley Officials Vote to Support Measure R Extension [WDN]
· Gold Line Foothill Extension Archives [Curbed LA]