Sunday, September 26, 2021

Federal, local leaders visit Montclair ‘Gold Line’ expansion site as project partners push for funding

Rep. David Price, a senior Democrat from North Carolina, looked out the bus window and tried to imagine a new light-rail train line stopping at Montclair and Claremont that connects riders to the foothills of Los Angeles County.

The chairman of the Transport, Housing and Urban Development Approval Subcommittee and a member of the House Appropriations Committee were invited this week by co-committee member Rep. Norma Torres, de-Pomona. Congresswomen and city officials, both of them, want to sow the seeds of the stalled project in the much-discussed infrastructure bill proposed by President Joe Biden.

Although the U.S. Senate passed a পরিকল্পনা 1 trillion infrastructure plan last month, various versions are still circulating in the House, including related reunification bills that could pay for local public transportation projects such as the unused expansion of the L line, formerly the Gold Line, Pomona to Claremont and Montclair. . Currently, the Montclair expansion costs about 5 540 million.

Representative David Price, D-North Carolina (left), Habib Balian, CEO of the Foothold Line Construction Authority, welcomes a congressional hearing on L’s potential funding on Monday, September 1, 2021, at the Montclair Trans Center. Line, formerly the Gold Line, extending from Pomona to Claremont and Montclair. Johnson Johnson, left, of Montclair Council, joined the tour. (Photo by Steve Scauzillo / SCNG)

“I definitely think we should explore it,” Price said Monday, Sept. 1, after the bus trip to the Montclair Transcenter ended, the transit hub where the line would end. “The purpose of this visit was to learn about the project, to take a more meaningful approach as we think about the source of funding. I am open to that consideration. ”

On Tuesday, Price and Torres took their case to Rip-Pitt Aguilar, D-Redlands. The three were supposed to talk about funneling federal dollars on L-line extensions as well as other inland empire transportation projects. Earlier Monday, Price and Torres visited the Malaga Bridge in Fontana in hopes of financing the 15 million reconstruction, which included the expansion of Futile Boulevard, including sidewalks and bike lanes.

“It simply came to our notice then. I think President Biden is really looking at opportunities like what we see today, ”Torres said Monday.

The L line from LA Union Station to Pasadena opened on July 26, 200. The extension to East Los Angeles began in November 2009, then the line was built on the Ajusa / Glendora border, opening March 5, 201. The work is 36% complete with a 9 mile extension from Ajusa to Pomona. But extending the line from Montclair in San Bernardino County to Claremont has become questionable because the price tag for a full extension from Azusa is $ 2.16 billion, more than half a billion dollars more than the budget.

Price’s trip to Montclair came just days after the failure of a state-funded bill for a mile that would connect Pomona to Montclair on the L line. The bill died with the local project because it was associated with funding for high-speed rail trains, a controversial and much more expensive project that was not supported by a majority of legislators.

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In order to receive federal dollars, L-line extensions must comply with national environmental policy laws. This requires a federal environmental review, a process that could take two to three years to complete, officials said. The Pomona to Montclair extension was originally scheduled to open in 2028. Even with the federal dollar, it could be pushed back to 2030 or 2031.

Federal, local leaders visit Montclair 'Gold Line' expansion site as project partners push for funding
A Gold Line light-rail train stops at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. The line is being extended to Pomona, but there is a lack of money to get to Claremont and Montclair. (File photo by Richard Guzman)

“Local leaders have to decide for themselves that this is a project they want to federalize,” Torres said. “We want to be ready at the federal level if they make that decision.”

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Local officials said they would work with state funding again next year. But speaking with members of Congress on the Appropriations Committee, they were hedging their bets.

“We need alternatives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, said Montclair Councilman Bill Ruh. “We have to see what we can do to make it happen. If it is not a state, it is a federal government or a combination.

Ruh, who co-led the bus trip on Monday, said the electric-powered light-rail train is less polluting than commuter rail. Also, fares will be much lower and work more frequently than light-rail Metrolink. Most importantly, it runs along the 210 / foothill freeway corridor, not 10 freeways like Metrolink, bringing passengers to the City of Hope and Job Center in Duarte and cultural spots in Chinatown in Arcadia, Pasadena and LA.

Of the 3 million trips along the 210 corridor, 97% were by car and only 3% by transit, according to data from the Gold Line construction authority.

Federal, local leaders visit Montclair 'Gold Line' expansion site as project partners push for funding
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