The Metropolitan Transit Authority board of directors voted Thursday to move forward with a ballot initiative to extend Measure R--the half-cent sales tax that funds Los Angeles transit projects--without providing any funding for the Gold Line Foothill Extension to Claremont, according to a Gold Line official.
Calling the decision "contrary to law," Gold Line Construction Authority CEO Habib Balian said in an email Thursday that Metro is not abiding by the original terms of Measure R by leaving Gold Line funding out.
"The many who have advocated on the projects’ behalf stressed that Metro is not meeting the 2008 voter mandate; a congressional letter read during the (Metro) meeting called attention specifically to provisions of the enabling legislation which 'delineated the Gold Line Foothill Extension as terminating in Claremont,'" Balian wrote. "Unfortunately, contrary to law, the board did not amend the expenditure plan to include the project to Claremont."
The ballot initiative was passed by Metro's board in a 10-3 vote, with Supervisor Mike Antonovich as one of the dissenters. Before it goes on the November ballot, a state bill must be passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Jerry Brown and Metro's resolution must be approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Metro's blog The Source said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa supports the ballot measure as it stands.
"...Villaraigosa said after the vote that the extension proposal was backed by a wide coalition who viewed an expanded transit system as a way to make Los Angeles County look and function better while creating jobs in the process," the blog reported.