While the Measure R extension initiative is gaining momentum, officials with the Gold Line Construction Authority are wary the measure would help the Gold Line get to Claremont.
After opposing Measure R in 2008, the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments voted last week to endorse the new Measure R extension, along with an amendment that would allow flexibility in the allocation of funds, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports.
The new Measure R extends the life of the half-cent transit sales tax for an additional 30 years to help fund future transit projects, although Metro has stated the Gold Line extension project from the Azusa/Glendora border to Claremont is not included in new Measure R funding plans.
Though the project is still in need of nearly $800 million to carry the Metro to Claremont, the new Measure R “does not complete the voter-mandated Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Claremont beyond Azusa,” according to Gold Line Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian.
The Authority opposed the extension on legal grounds, claiming that it violated the original law passed by voters because it did not fully fund the Gold Line rail project to Claremont.
“Although we agree that extending Measure R would provide county-wide benefits of completing much-needed projects faster, it is unfortunate that Metro continues to deny the Foothill Extension project,” Balian said in an e-mail statement. Duarte City Councilman John Fasana included an amendment with the Measure R extension that would allow Metro to redirect funds to the Gold Line extension project, to the tune of $623 million, according to the Tribune. But the GLCA say obtaining that funding would be much more difficult.
Metro will vote on the special amendment early next month. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will decide whether to include the Measure R extension in the November General Election.