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Metro Board Approves Shortest Alternative for the Eastside Corridor, is Federal Funding at Risk?

December 6, 2022

By Brian Hews • [email protected]

The Metro Board of Directors, at its meeting on Dec. 1, approved an extension of the Metro Gold Line from East Los Angeles to Whittier, choosing the shorter Alternative 3 as the project’s Initial Operating Segment (IOS). 

The Gold Line will be extended further east from its current terminus at Pomona/Atlantic in East Los Angeles to the Greenwood Station in Montebello.

It is far shorter than Alternative Two, which would have traveled through additional parts of Montebello and Pico Rivera, terminating on Lambert Blvd in Whittier.

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Alternative 3 will begin at the Atlantic/Pomona terminus station on the Gold Line and end at the Greenwood Station in Montebello. The selected line is 4.6 miles, with four stations, and includes design options at the Atlantic/Pomona station, a Montebello alignment and maintenance and storage facility site options and the Greenwood Station.

Over the last few years, Metro has been evaluating the nine-mile extension of the Gold Line from its current terminus at Pomona and Atlantic boulevards to Whittier via Washington Boulevard. When built, the new line will serve the cities of Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera, Santa Fe Springs and Whittier, and the unincorporated communities of East Los Angeles and West Whittier-Los Nietos.

The Board did approve the Lambert Station in Whittier as the terminus for the entire nine-mile project and authorized the preparation of the Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the full project and make the project ready for construction by 2029 as programmed under the Measure M transportation sales tax measure approved by voters in 2016.

In a statement, the Board said Alt. 3 was the best alternative, “this choice best meets the communities’ needs by having fewer impacts related to construction, traffic, noise, and property acquisitions. This alternative also has more environmental benefits and provides additional regional connectivity.” 

“It is important that we finally deliver this project all the way from East LA through Commerce to Pico Rivera and Whittier. This is just one more step in getting there and we will make this project happen as soon as possible to deliver a one-seat ride for these communities to downtown LA and beyond,” said LA County Supervisor and Metro Board Member Janice Hahn.

“We worked with all the communities along this corridor to ensure that we heard their concerns and needs and recommended the best possible alignment for the Eastside Transit Corridor. The locally preferred alternative will add rail connectivity and vastly improve transportation options in this corridor,” said Metro CEO Stephanie Wiggins. “

“That’s interesting,” one expert observer who did not want to be identified told HMG-CN, “They [the Board] messed up by not planning to secure federal funds early on, and now with monies available, they did not go through the NEPA process. In order to apply for federal funds, organizations have to go through NEPA; they are just starting the process now. Money will be gone before they complete.”

NEPA is the National Environmental Policy Act; it is designed to help citizens and organizations who are concerned about the environmental effects of federal decision-making.