The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board recently approved $690 million in funding for the extension of the Gold Line in the San Gabriel Valley. The money will go toward extending the light rail line 11.3 miles from its current terminus at Sierra Madre Villa Avenue in Pasadena to Azusa. The board's approval means the project is on track to break ground in June and ahead of schedule to begin service in 2014 instead of 2017, because it allows for the construction authority to seek bids for faster construction in a private-public partnership.

In 2008, Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, which increased the sales tax by half a cent on the dollar for 30 years to raise $40 billion for mass transit projects. Under the recent board decision, $690 million in revenue from Measure R will be transferred to the Gold Line Construction Authority. Building the extension is estimated to generate 6,900 jobs — a third of them construction-related — during the 3-yr project, according to the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp.

The extension is one of several major rail projects being planned for L.A. County in the next few years, including an extension of the Expo Line into Santa Monica, a new line down Crenshaw Boulevard into the South Bay, and an extension of the Eastside portion of the Gold Line. The second phase of the project would add stations in Glendora, San Dimas, La Verne, Pomona, Claremont, and Montclair and is estimated to cost between $600 million and $700 million. Planners hope to eventually extend the Gold Line all the way to LA/Ontario International Airport in San Bernardino County.