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Whittier Determined to Get the Gold Line to Reach Them

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In advance of Metro's decision on the route for the second eastward extension of the Gold Line, Whittier decided this week to hire a lobbyist to argue for a route that runs to the city. The transit agency should decide in the spring if the Gold Line will travel down Washington Boulevard and terminate in Whittier or move along the 60 and end in South El Monte. (When the Regional Connector opens in 2019, the line will travel to Santa Monica instead of Pasadena.) A Whittier councilmember fretted that her city was paying the entire $90,000 lobbyist fee, instead of sharing the expense with cities along the Washington Boulevard route, including Santa Fe Springs, Commerce, and Montebello, but in the end, the council decided they have to move on the matter themselves. The 60 route would cost less than the Whittier route ($1.5 billion compared to $1.65 billion), but would have fewer riders, according to estimates. As it stands now, this project won't open for at least 15 years anyway, though there is more and more talk of accelerating projects through a new ballot initiative (a 2012 measure narrowly failed to get the required three-fourths two-thirds vote). The Whittier council, meanwhile, also ok'd $5,000 to expedite necessary studies on the project.
· Council hires lobbyist for light rail extension [Whiitier Daily News]