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Tuesday, January 18, 2022

L Line construction board shifts focus to Claremont with new chairman

The board reshuffle for the agency building the extension of the LA Metro light-rail line to Pomona is intended to focus efforts on building the final, 3.3-mile section to Claremont and Montclair.

Although the $1.5 billion, 9.1-mile Glendora-to-Pomona extension of the L Line (formerly the Gold Line) originating in Los Angeles is 40% finished and scheduled for completion in early 2025, the final push remains unrestricted. And its cost is estimated to be around $670 million.

Getting light rail to Clermont required the reconstruction of existing freight and Metrolink tracks and the construction of an L Line station, a new Metrolink station as well as four train bridges on Monte Vista Avenue, Gary Avenue, Town Avenue and Indian Hill Boulevard. Is. An easier route would be the construction of the 1-mile Montclair leg, which is mostly paid for by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority for an additional $80 million.

Gold Line foothills extension to Pomona approved. To get to Claremont and Montclair, more money is needed. State lawmakers who urged the governor and state budget committees to fund the expansion using the state’s surplus dollars were disappointed on September 9, 2021 when no bill was passed. But they will try again in 2022 when another state surplus emerges. Ed Rees of Claremont has just taken over as chairman of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority. (Courtesy Metro Gold Line Foothills Extension Construction Authority).

Claremont City Councilman Ed Rees was sworn in as the new chairman of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority Board of Directors on Wednesday, Jan. Rees, who has served on the board since December 2020, takes the helm from Pomona Mayor Tim Sandoval, who held the presidency for three years.

“They (the board members) thought that Claremont and Montclair needed to be the focus to get the funding. They thought it would be a good idea for the chairman to be from Claremont,” said construction authority spokeswoman Lisa Levy Butch.

L Line construction board shifts focus to Claremont with new chairman
Claremont Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Rees was named chairman of the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority on Wednesday, January 12, 2022. (Image courtesy of Ed Rees).

Rees said his appointment to lead the board overseeing the extension of the longest LA Metro light-rail line is more than window dressing.

“My goal, and my priority, is to help the authority get the funding needed to get the Gold Line through Claremont and Montclair,” Rees said in an interview Thursday.

When Sandoval was president, he helped get the agency funding to build the L Line extension to Pomona, Rees said. Now he will turn his attention to the next step, Rees said, and that means holding his hand for state officials. That’s a tall order, as efforts to reduce federal and state funding in 2021 were not successful.

“I want to help bridge those relationships with state and local partners to ensure that we complete the project as originally planned,” Rees said.

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Specifically, Rees said he is working with Assembly member Chris Holden, a proponent of the expansion, who recently became chairman of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, the top funding and budget committee in the Assembly.

Holden, D-Pasadena, as well as nearly every member of the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Caucus and some members of San Bernardino County, have identified a $44 billion state budget surplus as a source of Line Gap funding.

“This conversation will take place in the near future for funding, potentially using state surpluses,” Rees said.

A historic first, moving along a light-rail line at the Montclair Transcentre, will connect commuters and weekend commuters to both San Bernardino and Los Angeles County. Holden and Rees said the connection would remove cars from the 210 freeway, while providing a less stressful, less polluting transportation option for residents of both counties.

“If the state wants to invest in money that will have a significant impact on the lives of people in the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire, this is the way to do it — to build the connection between San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County,” Rees said. said.

Buses and a Metrolink passenger train connect the two counties with the Montclair Transcentre. But a light-rail line there will cost less per ride and run more frequently than Metrolink’s San Bernardino line and serve more cities and areas, including Arcadia, Pasadena, East Los Angeles, and LA’s Chinatown.

The Construction Authority board consists of five voting members: Rees, Sandoval, La Verne City Councilwoman Robin Carder, Glendora Councilman Mendel Thompson and LA Representative Melchor Ilomin. The four non-voting members are Ontario City Councilman Alan Wapner (representing the SBCTA), Pasadena City Councilman Gene Masuda, South Pasadena Representative Dan Evans and Caltrans District 7 Director Tony Tavares representing Gavin Newsom.

Montclair City Councilman Bill Rooh was sworn in on Thursday as Secretary-Treasurer of the Metro Gold Line Phase II Joint Powers Authority. Montclair Mayor John Dutrey also serves at the JPA, representing the SBCTA.

“I am committed with Mr. Rees to bring us from Claremont to Montclair,” Rooh said.

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