State rejects funding light rail extension to Claremont

by Steven Felschundneff |

The latest attempt to secure the money needed to bring light rail service to Claremont did not make the cut when the state doled out transportation funding this week.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the California State Transportation Agency awarded grants to a number of key mass transit projects in Southern California, but the two-station extension of the L line through Claremont and Montclair received nothing.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board had placed the final 3.2 miles of the L line as its second most important priority for Los Angeles County, but the state chose to fund Metro’s top priority, a new light rail system in the San Fernando Valley and a people mover project called the Inglewood Transit Connector.

The transportation projects will be funded with surplus dollars allocated in last year’s state budget.

The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority and L.A. Metro submitted a joint application to CalSTA in December requesting $798 million to complete the light rail system formerly know as the Gold Line. Construction authority officials were hopeful this would be the magic moment that they would finally secure the funding, in part because the project is construction-ready, provides public transportation opportunities to disadvantaged communities, maintains or leverages local or federal funding sources, and could meet a June 2027 deadline to expend the funds.

“Late yesterday, CalSTA released the TIRCP grant award announcement, and unfortunately the Foothill Gold Line was not awarded any funding,” Foothill Gold Line CEO Habib Balian said in a statement. “This is very disappointing news, as we believe the shovel-ready project was very competitive and could have utilized the funding quickly to create jobs and economic output for our region in the short-term and significant mobility and environmental benefits in the long-term.”

Balian sad the construction authority will continue to work with its regional and state partners to identify and secure funding in the future to finally complete the entire 25-mile extension of the light rail system.

The good news is the 9.1-mile Glendora to Pomona portion of the L Line is two-thirds complete and is on schedule to be finished by January 2025.

This week work crews are building the platform at the future Pomona Station, just south of the Bonita and Garey avenues intersection. On Tuesday construction began on the grade crossing at Garey, which will require the street to be closed between Arrow Highway and Bonita for 45 days. This is the last of the project’s 21 at-grade crossings to require a long-term street closure, according to a news release from the construction authority.


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