Metro’s Gold Line is on its way to Pomona, after the agency tasked with constructing an extension of the light rail line approved an $806 million contract with builder Kiewit-Parsons to add 9 miles to the existing route.
That’s short of the 12.3-mile project originally planned, which would have reached Claremont and the San Bernardino County city of Montclair. But construction costs proved higher than anticipated, forcing Metro and the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority to break up the project into two parts.
The authority initially proposed temporarily ending the line in La Verne, near the Los Angeles County Fairplex. But last week, San Gabriel Valley leaders unanimously agreed to spend $126 million to close a funding gap for the rail project, allowing the first phase of construction to reach Pomona.
If money becomes available later, local leaders will have the option to tack an additional $381 million onto the value of the contract in order to bring the train to Montclair, as originally planned. They’ll have to act quickly though; that provision expires in two years.
“This is a crucial project for not only our residents in the San Gabriel Valley, but for all of Southern California,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement last week.
More than $1 billion in Measure M funding is devoted to the project already, but the construction authority revealed last year that wouldn’t be enough to complete the project originally envisioned.
Right now, the Gold Line runs between East LA and Azusa, though the northern and southern portions of the route will be divided up once Metro’s Regional Connector project wraps up in 2022.
The extension of the northern part of the route was once scheduled to wrap up by 2023. Now, the first segment to Pomona is scheduled to open in 2025. Project leaders still aim to complete the second leg to Montclair by 2028, but it’s not clear how that portion of the train line would be funded.