New Holden Bill Would Extend Gold Line To Ontario Airport

Mass-transit advocate.
Photo by Skye Hannah

Even in a best-case scenario, it will happen in the long term. And projects of this scope are routinely delayed.

But some day down the road, South Pasadena commuters will be able to ride the Gold Line all the way to Ontario Airport, if a bill introduced by Assembly Member Chris Holden eventually turns plans into reality.   

Holden, whose 41st District includes South Pas, this week introduced Assembly Bill 2011, which would lay the groundwork for the Gold Line’s eventual extension beyond its current terminus at Citrus College in Asuza.

“Light rail is playing a critical role in reducing our carbon footprint, improving air quality and connecting communities throughout the region,” said 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.”

Currently, plans are already under way to extend the Gold Line to Montclair, with additional stops in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona and Claremont and Montclair.

But as Holden pointed out, Montclair 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.’’

Holden’s proposal would create the West San Bernardino County Rail Construction Authority, which would be responsible for the design and building of the airport extension. The specific route is still a future matter.

Holden’s office said the new construction authority would include representation from the San Bernardino County Transportation Authority, L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Ontario International Airport Authority as well as the cities of Montclair, Upland, Rancho Cucamonga and Ontario.

Light rail has long been a wheelhouse issue for Holden, who currently is chair of the Assembly’s Select Committee on Regional Transportation Solutions.

His office announced he plans to hold his next Select Committee Informational Hearing at Ontario City Hall this Friday, Jan. 31, with one of the panels covering economic and environmental benefits of connections to Ontario, as well as to Hollywood Burbank, airports.

A former board president of the Burbank- Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority, Holden had already submitted a budget request to Gov. Gavin Newsom for L.A. Metro to study the Burbank extension.

The Ontario extension plan has drawn early praise from legislators whose areas would be affected.

“The Ontario International Airport is a convenient and rapidly expanding traveling option for many residents across San Bernardino and Los Angeles counties,’’ said Assembly Member Freddie Rodriguez, whose 52nd District includes Montclair and Ontario.

“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.”

Ontario Mayor Paul Leon was also encouraged by the prospect of a further extension.

“Electric light rail is the proven solution for dependable public transportation throughout the world,” Leon said. “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.”