Transit plan has local impact

By Charles COOPER

Glendale Councilman Ara Najarian reported Tuesday to his colleagues that a long-range transit plan for Southern California includes some important elements serving local riders.

Najarian just returned from his first lobbying trip to Washington as chair of the Metropolitan Transit

Agency, a post he took over after several years of service on the board. The board voted unanimously to support the plan.

He said the plan includes $800 million for extension of the Foothill Gold Line to at least Azusa from its current terminus in East Pasadena. Ground breaking is now scheduled for June.

The councilman said the tunnel project to extend the 710 Freeway remains in the plan with the apparent favorite route now an extension along the 2 Freeway from Verdugo Road in Eagle Rock. Also included in the 30 year plan is $250 million for sound wall construction, with La Crescenta and La Cañada under consideration for funding.

Other projects under consideration include a connector from downtown L.A. to Glendale and Burbank, and a link from Glendale to the Gold Line.

Najarian reported that the Gold Line extension has strong support among federal officials, who are less supportive of two other MTA favorites, the Subway to the Sea and a downtown L.A. light rail to connect up the various lines which run into the city.

In all, the plan has a cost figure of $298 billion, with funding coming from the Prop R sales tax and federal recovery act funding, among other sources.