Gold Line to Ontario Airport? | Assemblymember Holden Initiates Legislation

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Assemblymember Chris Holden (AD – 41) introduced legislation, Assembly Bill 2011, that would lay the groundwork to extend the Metro Gold Line all the way to Ontario Airport.

“Light-rail is playing a critical role in reducing our carbon footprint, improving air quality, and connecting communities throughout the region,” said Assemblymember Chris Holden. “These benefits will expand into San Bernardino County once the Metro Gold Line Extension to Montclair is completed, and have a greater impact if extended to Ontario Airport.”

The current Metro Gold Line extension is already set to reach San Bernardino County with new stations in the cities of Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair. The current terminus planned for Montclair, however, is just six miles short of the Ontario International Airport – a critical airport and economic driver for San Bernardino, Riverside, and parts of Los Angeles Counties.

“The Ontario International Airport is a convenient and rapidly expanding traveling option for many residents across San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties. Though we have seen significant progress in the extension of the Foothill Gold Line, which is planned to terminate in the transit center in the City of Montclair, there is no definitive plan to connect passengers from the transit center to the airport,” said Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez (AD – 52). “Creating a nexus between Montclair’s transit center and the Ontario airport is a monumental endeavor, and will require a dedicated construction authority whose sole purpose is constructing a connection that will best serve both San Bernardino and Los Angeles County residents.”

“Electric light rail is the proven solution for dependable public transportation throughout the world,” said City of Ontario Mayor, Paul Leon. “We can no longer have the belief that bigger freeways are better for the environment, travelers, or commuters. It is time to give people the option of using reliable, seamless public transportation instead of driving their cars.”

Holden’s proposal would create the West San Bernardino County Rail Construction Authority that would be responsible for designing and building the extension from Montclair to the Airport. The new construction authority would include representation from the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Ontario International Airport Authority, and the cities of Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga, and Ontario.

Holden is currently chair of the Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions. This committee explores solutions to improve multi-modal interconnectivity between communities, establish sustainable transportation infrastructure, and relieve traffic congestion. He plans to hold his next Select Committee Informational Hearing at Ontario City Hall on January 31st. One of the panels will discuss the economic and environmental benefits of multimodal and interregional connections to Burbank and Ontario airports.

Holden already submitted a budget request to Governor Gavin Newsom for LA Metro to study the feasibility of an extension to the Hollywood Burbank Airport.

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.

“As a former City Council Member and Mayor of Pasadena, I championed early efforts to establish the Metro Gold Line, which turned out to be more successful than anyone anticipated just like the recent extension to Azusa,” said Holden. “Extending the Gold Line to Ontario Airport will propel both San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County into our new transportation future”

“As we begin this process, I look forward to working with stakeholders at the local, regional and state level including San Bernardino County Transit Authority President Darcy McNaboe, Senator Connie Leyva, and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez,” continued Holden.