Residents of the Inland Empire should soon have another way of getting to and from Los Angeles—but maybe not as soon as they expected.
Metro’s Board of Directors approved a $1.4 billion budget Thursday to extend the Gold Line from its current terminus in Azusa to Claremont, 11.5 miles to the east.
The extension is one of many transit projects set to be funded through Measure M, the sales tax hike approved by LA County voters in November. It will be the first rail project funded by the measure.
Along the way to Claremont, stops will be constructed at Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, and Pomona. Eventually, the train will reach Montclair, in San Bernardino County, but funding for that leg of the route will have to come from elsewhere.
According to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, which Metro has contracted to build the project, San Bernardino County officials are still weighing funding options for the final stretch of the project.
Construction workers will break ground on the project in October, with the full extension expected to open by 2027. That’s four years after the 2023 opening date originally projected for the project, but Metro announced in January that relocation of track used by freight and Metrolink trains and other obstacles would cause significant delays.
Under the Measure M spending plan, the extension is set to receive $1.02 billion in sales tax revenue. According to a release from Metro, the agency will fill in the funding gap with a combination of savings from past projects and a $249 million grant that Metro is hoping to receive from the state.
Metro estimates that the completed train line will carry riders from Montclair to Pasadena in a little over 40 minutes. The trip to Los Angeles will take around 75 minutes.
Meanwhile, construction on Metro’s Regional Connector project is already underway. The 1.9-mile tunnel below Downtown LA will allow the Expo Line to merge with the southern portion of the Gold Line, while the northern stretch of the Gold Line (the one being extended to Montclair) will connect with the Blue Line to Long Beach.