Inland Empire Cities Cry Foul on Light Rail Funding

Cities in San Bernardino County are questioning California state funding processes that failed to allocate any state dollars to an inland rail extension, opting instead to fund more ‘splashy’ L.A.-area projects.

2 minute read

February 15, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Metro Los Angeles

An L Line train pulling into a station in South Pasadena, California. | Digital Media Pro / Shutterstock

An announcement by the California State Transportation Authority (CalSTA) denying state funding to a Los Angeles-to-San Bernardino County light rail line was met with anger from local proponents of the project, which also failed to win grant funding from the state. Steve Scauzillo reports on the story for the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

The proposal would extend the Metro L Line (formerly Gold Line) 3.2 miles from Pomona to Montclair and connect riders to the Metrolink commuter rail system. Now, local leaders suspect the state is favoring Los Angeles projects over those in less glamorous areas. As Scauzillo explains, “Montclair City Manager Edward Starr pointed to what he sees as an L.A. bias from the state agency that favors splashy, L.A. city and L.A. County rail projects over any project that serves San Bernardino County commuters.”

Critics call the CalSTA funding process a “black hole,” with little explanation from the agency about why certain projects didn’t receive funding. Some also question the decision to award $407.4 million to a people mover project that will serve the new Los Angeles Rams football stadium in Inglewood. “Losing out to a project that serves football and basketball fans over one that studies show would take single-car commuters from western San Bernardino County off the 210, 10 and 60 freeways to reach employment venues in Pasadena, downtown Los Angeles and eventually, Long Beach, seemed wrong to project supporters,” Scauzillo writes.

The source article details the politics behind the project, as well as its potential benefits, which include removing 15,000 car trips from local roads and generating 5,500 jobs. Delaying or halting the project also jeopardizes thousands of proposed housing units planned around the sites of future stations as transit-oriented development.

Saturday, February 11, 2023 in San Gabriel Valley Tribune

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