Gold Line Foothill Extension Will Be First Measure R Rail Project to Begin Construction

3_25_10_travelin.jpgMetro Board Chair Ara Najarian at a Gold Line Foothill Extension Rally last year.
Photo: Lisa Newton/Travelin Local

"Metro Board unanimously approves funding and master cooperative agreement. Gold Line Foothill Extension set to break ground in June!!" may be the tweet heard round the San Gabriel Valley, as Albert Ho of I Will Ride announced that the Metro Board of Directors approved the construction plan for the Foothill Extension.  The first shovel will go in the ground in June; meaning the Foothill Extension, not Expo Phase II, the Subway to the Sea nor the Regional Connector, will be the first Measure R rail project to begin construction.  Thanks to commenter Dennis Hindman for reminding me that the Orange Line extension already broke ground.

The Source has more details of what this means:

The funding agreement spells out details over how Metro will transfer up to $810 million in Measure R sales tax money and other funds to the Foothill Extension Gold Line Construction Authority, the agency building the line that Metro will operate when complete. Stations will be in Arcadia, Monrovia, Duarte, Irwindale and Azusa, which will have two stops...

...The agreement includes a process to resolve any disputes between the Construction Authority and Metro over how the line is constructed. That’s been a big point of negotiations the past few weeks. The agreement also allows the city of Monrovia to move forward on acquiring property needed for a rail car maintenance yard along the line.

It is important to note that the agreement does not fund construction of the second phase of the Foothill Extension, which is planned to run from Azusa to Montclair or the third phase from Montclair to Ontario airport.

 After years of bad blood between San Gabriel Valley politicians and the majority of the Metro Board over construction of the line, many elected leaders from the SGV opposed Measure R and the Long Range Transportation Plan.  However, there was no sign of that acrimony today, the CEO's for both Metro and the Gold Line Foothill Extension even released a joint statement praising the process.