By Winston Chua
Metro’s board of directors is currently considering extending current L.A. County sales tax rates indefinitely in an attempt to provide adequate funding to complete a Goldline extension that would extend an existing line to Claremont. In the coming weeks the board will consider a position on AB1446, legislation to allow a measure on the November ballot to make permanent the Measure R half-cent increase on sales tax.
This means extending sales tax rates by half a cent esto perpetua, as opposed to letting the rates expire in 2039. Measure R, which was passed in 2008, provided $735 million money for Metro to extend its project from Pasadena to Azusa, a project set to be completed in 2015.
The cost to get to extend the line to Claremont would be $1.5 billion, of which they are currently short approximately $750 million.
Supervisor Antonovich last week posed questions to help clarify the ambiguities of the situation, to explore the reasons why Measure R promises completion to Claremont yet is only funded through Azusa.
Mark Littman, spokesman for Metro, said that Measure R provides the county approximately $600 million per year, money which is used for pothole repairs, bridges, bus lines, highways and dozens of transit projects, one of which is the Goldline extension to Azusa. He said that it would behoove Metro to take advantage of current loans to help complete highway and other projects to save money on inflation and help create jobs.
The board is expected to take a more formal position on the matter in the days and weeks to come. The current bill going through Sacramento now is called AB1446 which has passed several committees and is headed for the assembly floor. Congress members Judy Chu, Adam Schiff and Grace Napolitano have all signed a letter to request additional funding. More on this story to come.
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