About $810 million of the $1.574 billion projected cost for the 23-mile light rail extension to Claremont has been allocated, although the Gold Line Construction Authority and supporters of the project are pushing Metro to extend Measure R funds for the next phase of construction.
An updated expenditure plan for the Metro Gold Line extension from the Azusa/Glendora border to Claremont put its target date at 2021.
“The State Legislature required the construction authorities receiving Measure R funds to prepare an expenditure plan to complete their capital projects,” said Construction Authority Board Chairman and Glendora Councilman Doug Tessitor in a press statement. “It is important to recognize that the voters approved the project to Claremont, but Measure R allocates enough funding to complete the project only to Azusa. The expenditure plan allows a complete estimate of what funding is needed to complete the project.”
During yesterday’s San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus in Sacramento, the Authority discussed current legislation on Measure R, including AB1446, which proposes extending the Measure R half-cent sales tax indefinitely.
Senators Ed Hernandez and Bob Huff sent a letter to Metro to formalize the Caucus’ concerns regarding the proposed extension of the sales tax. In their letter, the senators asked Metro to clarify which projects will be funded by the additional revenue.
The letter also expressed support for the extension project and expectations that the sales tax would fund the remaining money needed to complete the project to Claremont. The senators took issue with Metro staff’s indication that Measure R would only fund the project from Pasadena to Azusa.
According to the letter:
“There is no ambiguity in the state legislation that put Measure R to the voters. For this reason, we respectfully request that Metro incorporate the Construction Authority’s approved expenditure plan into Metro’s expenditure plan, along with the correct project definition (Pasadena to Claremont).”
The Gold Line Construction Authority plans to raise the remaining funds by 2016. The timeframe for the Azusa to Claremont extension was based on the current schedule for the Arcadia to Azusa segment of construction. The first phase of the extension project from Arcadia to Azusa is slated for completion by 2015.
According to the authority, they will obtain environmental clearance for the Azusa to Montclair segment later this year. It will take a few years for the completion of the preliminary engineering and design for the second phase before construction can begin.