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The Future of the Metro Gold Line and the San Gabriel Valley

American Institute of Architects: First Friday Series

Guest Speaker: 
Mr. Habib F. Balien, Chief Executive Officer
Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority

the year 2000, work began on the 13.7 mile Los Angeles-to-Pasadena Gold
Line.  It was two years after the California State Legislature adopted
SB 1847 creating the Metro Gold Line Construction Authority, an
independent transportation planning and construction agency.  It was
also a time when the Gold Line was the single major light rail project
underway in the Southland.  Three years later, Phase 1 of the Gold Line
opened on time and under budget, operated by the Los Angeles
Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro, formerly called the

Phase 1, a proposed Phase 2 of the Gold Line, called the Foothill
Extension, would be operated by Metro and extend passenger service 24
miles eastward through 11 cities from Pasadena to Montclair, with a
possible link to Ontario International Airport.   The Foothill
Extension offers scores of benefits: shorter commute time from the
Inland Empire to Downtown, rising land values for properties adjacent
to the new light rail stations, restoration of four historic depots, a
vibrant public art program, savings of an estimated $1.5 million in
gasoline costs, and a reduction in air pollution levels by about four
tons of carbon monoxide.  But these days the Foothill Extension must
compete for funding with a record number of mass transit projects. 

So...when’s the train comin?

to the Foothill Extension’s future is inclusion in Metro’s Long Range
Transportation Plan.  At Metro’s Board meeting on July 26, 2008,
despite a heavy turnout of Extension supporters, the decision to
include the project in the Plan was delayed until after the November
elections and potential adoption of a sales tax increase to benefit
public transit.   Critics say the delay cost millions in federal

Come explore the Foothill Extension’s future with Mr. Habib F. Balian,
the Chief Executive Officer of the Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension
Construction Authority.  Prior to his appointment to the Construction
Authority in 2004, Mr. Balian was the Chief Administrative Officer for
Phase 1 of the Gold Line.  He has served as Chief of Staff for the MTA,
overseeing management of the Office of the CEO, and spent seven years
as Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich’s Assistant
Deputy for Transportation.

For more information, go to
For CEUs, participants will learn about:

•    Current issues in long range planning for light rail in Southern California
•    Opportunities for transit-oriented development along the Foothill Extension route
•    Gold Line station design and public art projects
•    Potential for revival of historic downtowns and depots

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