Published On: October 6th, 2019Categories: Uncategorized

When Kiewit-Parsons inked a contract Friday, Oct. 4, committing their joint partnership to building the Gold Line 9 miles from Glendora to Pomona, the moment was cheered by nearly 200 supporters.

But the signing also opened a two-year window to extend the popular light-rail line another 3.3 miles to Claremont and into San Bernardino County to the Montclair Transit Center.

But that next leg of the $2.1 billion project lacks about $450 million for the Claremont station, and there’s just $80 million in the bank for the Montclair portion that will cost $97.4 million.


While supporters from both counties came out in force to a signing ceremony on the steps of Pomona City Hall, the first-ever reach into the Inland Empire by an LA Metro train has been opposed by the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority.

Glendora-to-Montclair project. The extension of the Gold Line light-rail will cost $2.1 billion. A contract was signed on Friday, Oct. 4, 2019, to go to Pomona, with the option to continue to Claremont and Montclair. (courtesy of Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority)

Last month, SBCTA Executive Director Ray Wolfe said he would ask his board to “throw in the towel” on the Gold Line, vowing to suggest a more cost-effective line of special, low-emission locomotives on the existing large-rail Metrolink tracks between Pomona and Rancho Cucamonga, according to a report released by the transportation authority on Friday.

The two proposals are at the heart of a clash between the two counties and local cities, a brewing fight that hung like a cloud over the celebration Friday morning.

On Monday, the Montclair City Council will vote on a 30-page resolution supporting extension of the Gold Line into their city, a thumbs down to Wolfe’s alternative, City Manager Edward Starr, who attended the signing ceremony.

Starr said any kind of Metrolink service will run at least every half hour, far less often than the six to seven minutes between trains during commuter hours and 15 minutes during off-peak hours for the Gold Line.

The SBCTA will discuss what is tentatively called the Metrolink Gold Link hybrid-rail alternative Thursday at its Transit Committee meeting.

Both Claremont and Montclair officials are in full support of the Gold Line extension to their cities.

Claremont Councilman Ed Reece, after hearing rousing support from members of Congress, the state Legislature and LA Metro, said: “Our city is supportive of the Gold Line. Absolutely.”

After the signing, Montclair Councilman John Dutrey said he’s forming a working group with the goal of bringing LA Metro and the SBCTA together to sit down and discuss the alternatives.

“It is good for the two counties to hear both sides,” he said.

Any tension over the future reach of the Gold Line did not dampen the enthusiasm of speakers who said the light-rail in Pomona will open up mass transit into eastern San Bernardino County. With the Gold Line located next to Metrolink service, those traveling the San Bernardino line train can get off in Pomona and jump on the Gold Line and travel to Pasadena and Los Angeles at much cheaper fares. The Gold Line to Pomona is expected to be operational by 2025, officials have said.

Rep. Norma Torres, D-Pomona, whose district spreads east to Rialto, said commuters tell her they are traveling 50 or 60 miles on the 210 and 10 freeways to get to work in Los Angeles, Orange and north San Diego counties.

She wants to see the Gold Line extended as far as possible to give these commuters an option to take the train instead of driving in single-passenger cars.

“The county line is an invisible line when it comes to public transportation,” she told the audience.

Torres echoed a call made by many speakers who said the Gold Line should continue east and south. “Not just to Pomona and Montclair,” she said, “but to the Ontario airport!”

State Sen. Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada Flintridge, said he thinks the SBCTA “is wrong” about not supporting the Gold Line into Montclair.

“I have a message for San Bernardino County: ‘It’s coming. Get on board. Buy your ticket,” he said, leading the audience in a chant.

“We’ve got to cross county lines and get people out of their cars and the Gold Line is the standard for doing that,” Portantino added.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, a member of the LA Metro board, spoke in support of the Gold Line light-rail to Pomona, Claremont, Montclair and Ontario International Airport. He said all of Southern California need mass transit that crosses county and city boundaries.

“This is our line too. I promised the folks out here we would deliver,” he said in a short speech. He said moving from single-passenger cars to mass transit will bring communities together, reduce global warming and slow down the effects of climate change.

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