Metro Line extension delayed beyond 2027

A Metro Line train departs from the APU/Citrus College station on Sept. 25. The extension out to Claremont has been delayed four years past the original 2023 target and is expected to be delayed longer. Photo by Nicole Spata / Clarion

On March 5, 2016, the first phase of the Metro Gold Line was completed, which extended the station from Sierra Madre to Citrus College and Azusa Pacific University, with the second phase continuing the Metro Gold Line 12 miles east to Montclair.

The Gold Line will now extend into San Bernardino County as it passes Claremont. However, as the line reaches Montclair, San Bernardino County will have to find its separate funding since Measure M only applies to Los Angeles County.

Since there is a lack of funds past the Pomona station, the plan has been delayed four years past the original 2023, and is expected to be delayed much longer.

In addition, significant delays will be caused as the track must be relocated using the Metrolink and freight trains.

A proposed plan has been given by Lisa Levy Buch, chief communications officer for Foothill Gold Line, regarding the possible elimination of the Claremont station as it interferes with the Metrolink.

The three options as followed are to remain the location of the stations as planned, relocate the Metrolink station, eliminate the Metrolink station or to create transfer stations between the two rail services.

“I didn’t even know that it was delayed,” Cynthia Lewis, Metro Gold Line train operator said. “I thought it was aimed for 2020, it was only supposed to take three years.”

In the summer of 2014, engineering began with the estimated cost of $1.4 billion. The funds are being paid by a California grant and Measure M, and frustration due to the compact freeways in Los Angeles during rush hour.

“I feel as if 70 minutes would be a great improvement to L.A. considering it takes me 35 minutes to travel from Ontario to Citrus College,” Michael Martinez, criminal justice major, said.

Nancy Mota, another criminal justice major, said she was looking forward to possibly riding the Gold Line to school.

Victoria Ramos, outreach team of Los Angeles Department of Transportation, said she is not surprised that there is a delay in the extension.

“When learning about new public transit changes, I normally add a few years to the said estimated time, based off the time frames of past metro extensions,” Ramos said.

Phase 2B of the Metro will also extend it eastward, but will be tunneled under Atlantic Boulevard.

This will convert the East Los Angeles station into an underground route that will travel toward El Monte along the 60 freeway.

“I would take it if I was only a full-time student,” Jason Richardson, criminal justice major, said. “It is a convenience and a much cheaper way of travel, especially since I commute from El Monte.”

The four possible stations that this phase will pass through will be Montebello, Commerce, Pico Rivera and will end in Whittier.

The southern end of phase 2B will eventually extend to the Metro Expo Line and phase 2 will extend to the Metro Blue Line.

This phase of the metro extension project is not expected to finalize until 2053, and the combined cost of the two different routes will be an estimate of $6 billion.

It has been in the works for nearly a decade with little progress.

“That’s ridiculous,” Mota said. “Not only will I definitely not ride but my children won’t either.”

Nevertheless, the extensions of the Metro Line will not be able to be taken advantage of until the next generation of students who will be commuting from San Bernardino County.