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There is yet to be an approved line of thinking when it comes to extending the Gold Line in San Bernardino County, Calif. The San Bernardino Country Transportation Authority (SBCTA) says it does not have the money to extend the Gold Line to the Ontario Airport. Meanwhile, two California lawmakers have introduced bills that would create a new agency for the extension, but the feelings have been mixed.
The bill by Sen. Anthony Portantino calls for a light rail system to connect two counties and also provide a route to the Ontario Airport. The Metro Gold Line Foothill Extension Construction Authority, which constructed the Los Angeles-to-Azusa light rail line, likes Portantino’s course of action. California Assemblyman Chris Holden also has a bill for the light rail needs. However, SBCTA rejected both bills. The issue is complex and is running in different directions.
A line from Montclair, Calif., to the Ontario Airport is estimated to cost as much as $1.5 billion. If the SBCTA secured state and federal funding, the remaining cost of the project would still take away funds from other planned transit projects.
The Metro Gold Line Foothill Construction Authority will take another look at both bills in April.
Holden wants the counties and cities in the crosshairs of a light rail project to work out a Memorandum of Understanding that would outline the specs of the project. The SBCTA wants no-emission trains to take passengers to and from the Ontario Airport.
A section of the Gold Line (Azusa to Pomona) is currently under construction and is scheduled to be completed by 2025, but cost overruns have created a $550 million funding gap to continue the line to other cities. The extension to the airport could be done by 2028.
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