With construction costs proving higher than anticipated, Los Angeles-area officials are scrambling to ensure an extension of Metro’s Gold Line reaches Pomona by 2025.
San Gabriel Valley leaders unanimously agreed Thursday to spend $126 million to close a funding gap for the light rail project. The money will come from a regional fund created through Metro’s Measure M sales tax initiative.
“This is a crucial project for not only our residents in the San Gabriel Valley, but for all of Southern California,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis said in a statement today thanking the San Gabriel Valley Council of Governments for its contribution of “essential funding” for the project.
The regional council’s decision came just in the nick of time. According to the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, which is overseeing construction of the project, bids from companies to build the project are set to expire this month—meaning costs could go up even more if a contract isn’t awarded soon.
With money secured for the project’s initial phase, the construction authority will likely award a contract to build the extension to Pomona at a board meeting next week.
More than $1 billion in Measure M funding is devoted to the project already, but the construction authority revealed last year that wouldn’t be enough to complete the project originally envisioned.
Right now, the Gold Line runs between East LA and Azusa, though the northern and southern portions of the route will be divided up once Metro’s Regional Connector project wraps up in 2022.
An extension of the northern part of the route was once scheduled to run all the way to Montclair by 2023. Now, the construction authority has divided the project up into two segments. The first will take the train to Pomona; the second to Claremont and possibly Montclair (building the final stop will require cooperation from San Bernardino County officials).
Project leaders still aim to complete the second leg by 2028, though it’s not clear how it would be funded.