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UPDATE: Metro Amendment Allows Gold Line to Progress

Stalled by a lawsuit against the state, the Gold Line Foothill Extension can now move forward after the Metropolitan Transit Authority passed an amendment to its funding agreement Thursday, an official said.

UPDATE: Metro Amendment Allows Gold Line to Progress

The Gold Line Construction Authority effectively circumvented a lawsuit that for the Gold Line Foothill Extension when the Metrolpolitan Transit Authority amended its funding agreement Thursday.

Habib Balian, GLCA's CEO, said Thursday that the MTA had approved an amendment to the agency's funding system that gives Gold Line officials access to $208 million to continue building the Foothill Extension from Pasadena to Azusa.

Before the amendment, the GLCA was stuck waiting to hear the result of a lawsuit being heard in the California Supreme Court that tied up a land deal it reached with Monrovia. The MTA had previously required Metro to procure 50 percent of the land it needs for a maintenance facility in Monrovia, but it could not do so because of the lawsuit.

Balian said Metro agreed to the amendment after seeing that the GLCA had exhausted all reasonable efforts to get the land.

"We looked for a lot of different workarounds to do what we could do to maintain our schedule," he said. "We had done everything you could reasonably do to prepare to get these properties under title. I think that we demonstrated a good faith effort."

The deal reached with Monrovia was stalled when the California Supreme Court froze the assets of city redevelopment agencies as . A ruling in that lawsuit is expected in January.

Once a ruling comes down from the court, Monrovia's redevelopment agency should presumably be free to execute its deal with the GLCA. The city has to keep its agency alive, so it can still sell the land to the Gold Line even if the judges rule in the state's favor.

Complications could arise, however, if the California Supreme Court's ruling somehow interferes with the GLCA's ability to acquire Monrovia's land, Balian said. The GLCA must have the land ready for construction in a year's time, he said.

"If this doesn't get resolved in that amount of time, it could then once again impact our schedule or threaten our schedule to some degree," Balian said.

Another remaining obstacle to the Foothill Extension's progress is local property owner George Brokate, who has filed various lawsuits against the GLCA and city in an effort to keep his land from being condemned for the extension's maintenance yard project.

The GLCA has begun eminent domain proceedings against Brokate, and a condemnation hearing is scheduled for Nov. 16 in a Los Angeles court room. Meanwhile, negotiations to reach an amicable settlement with Brokate, , have hit a standstill, Balian said.

"He's not really negotiating with us," Balian said. "They have not moved off of their original demand."

Robert Silverstein, one of Brokate's attorneys, could not immediately be reached for comment.

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