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No Gold Line Rides to Ontario Airport Anytime Soon as San Bernardino County Transit Stops Negotiations

Published on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 | 11:30 am
Chris Holden

Assemblyman and former Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden expressed his disappointment with the San Bernardino County Transit Authority after the agency stopped negotiating on a Memorandum of Understanding to extend the Gold Line to Ontario International Airport.

SBCTA agreed to work on the MOU process and establish guiding principles to move the project forward after Assemblymember Holden committed to not pursue his legislative proposal.

“Despite my commitment to work in good faith and the efforts of my staff to earnestly provide responses to SBCTA’s concerns, SBCTA has been steadfast in rejecting the most important elements of these guiding principles even those they had previously agreed to,” said Holden in a letter sent to SBCTA on Monday, May 18.  “These guiding principles are important not just to me, but to cities in both counties.”

Holden’s history with the Gold Line spans over 30 years. Prior to his election to the Pasadena City Council, Assemblymember Holden served on the Pasadena Light Rail Alignment Task Force established in 1985 to identify the light rail route alternatives in Pasadena. He is a former board president of the Burbank- Glendale- Pasadena Airport Authority, where he served as a commissioner for 20 years.

In the letter, Holden said he introduced AB 2011 at the beginning of the year to address the longtime goals of communities in his district and throughout the region to connect the Ontario International Airport to light rail. The bill would have created the West San Bernardino County Rail Construction Authority to design and build the extension from Montclair to the airport.

“This connection amplifies the critical benefits light rail already plays in reducing vehicle miles traveled, improving air quality, and connecting communities,” continued Holden.

Two commitments that SBCTA walked back include advocating completion of the Gold Line to Montclair, and not to exclude Claremont and Montclair in the Rancho Cucamonga line alternative to be studied.

“It is unfortunate that SBCTA chose to cease negotiations,” Holden wrote. “Instead, SBCTA is focused on one unsolicited proposal, while earlier this year had agreed to study at least three alternatives. It is my objective to lay the foundation for a sustainable future by connecting communities through affordable and efficient public transit. This could have been done collaboratively if the Authority agreed in writing to commitments listed above. These are simple, straightforward, and appropriate next steps that go a long way toward building goodwill and show a desire to collaborate. It is my hope that we find agreement on these points but if not, I will pursue legislation to create an independent authority that will create long awaited public transit from Montclair to the Ontario International Airport.”

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