Metrolink’s Antelope Valley Line will receive a piece of $500 million in state grants to upgrade and transform the corridor’s pending capital projects, Caltrans officials announced Tuesday.
A total of $107 million was designated for the line’s $220.85 million upgrades, which crosses the Santa Clarita Valley from the Antelope Valley to Los Angeles’ Union Station.
Funds to improve the line “were a long time coming,” said Santa Clarita Councilwoman Marsha McLean, who has represented the city on the board of the North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition.
“If I could describe this into one word I would say: finally. I think (the line) is getting the attention it deserves. I’m very happy about all the work that we’ve been doing with (county) Supervisor (Kathryn) Barger. These funds will be necessary in order to get the line running faster and more efficiently and help reduce the number of cars on the roads,” she said.
The $107 million from the state is coupled with $113.8 million in local Measure M funding that the North County Transportation Coalition approved last year.
The funds are expected to cover a series of capital projects, including:
- The Balboa double-track extension, just south of the Interstate 5 and Highway 14 interchange, which will allow for additional capacity and passing.
- The Lancaster Terminal improvements, which include a new layover and light maintenance facilities.
- The Canyon siding extension, which allows for additional passing in the SCV area.
- The Brighton to McGinley double track, a key segment of the critical Brighton-to-Roxford double track project, which will add capacity and additional passing between Sylmar and Burbank.
“We are so grateful the state recognized the value and importance of our proposal and we look forward to our ongoing collaboration to ultimately deliver major improvements that will benefit millions of people who use this transportation corridor annually. Considering the struggles our communities have endured in recent weeks, this is cause for celebration,” Barger, whose 5th District includes the SCV, said in a prepared statement.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, McLean said hard work lies ahead in continuing to help bring ridership up.
“Before the line was doing well and Metro saw an increase in ridership, but unfortunately we are faced with this pandemic, which has shut everything down. So, we have to work to get back to where we were to increase ridership. Our work is not over,” she said.