Gold Line.

USA: Los Angeles County Metro confirmed on December 2 that voters had approved Measure R with a 67·9% majority, and as a result a 0·5% sales tax increase will come into force on July 1 2009.

This is expected to raise more than $650m for transport projects in its first year. CEO Roger Snoble will present a comprehensive financial plan at the agency's January board meeting, outlining funding and implementation strategies for proposed capital projects.

The draft plan includes transport projects totalling $152bn between now and 2030. Construction of the initial $458m section of the Gold Line's Foothill extension from East Pasadena to Azusa could begin in August 2010. Procurement is likely to start in December 2009, with revenue service in December 2013.

Measure R will also help to fund Metrolink's $120m level crossing safety improvement programme. In light of two recent collisions, Southern California Regional Rail Authority has applied to the FRA for a waiver allowing Metrolink to install automatic train stop as an interim measure until positive train control is available in 2012 at the earliest.

Federal and state funding will still be required, although the level of state contribution is in doubt due to California's budget deficit. Federal funding has been limited to 50% of capital cost under the Bush administration; it remains to be seen whether Obama will restore the 80% upper limit implemented by Clinton.

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