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Regional Transit Considers Expanding Green Line to Airport

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NATOMAS --

Riding Regional Transit's rails is fact of life for many around Sacramento.

"Oh, every day. I use it for work ... so," said Madison Hoang.

The system logs 13.5 million passenger trips a year, and Lynn Linzi thought for sure some of her own rides would be among that number long before now.

"When we moved here in 2001, they made it sound like it was coming in three to four years, and we're still waiting," she said.

At a Tuesday night project open house, Linzi liked the look she got at the expansion plans she's been waiting on.

It's a set of plans no longer stalled by a lack of federal funding and a building moratorium in Natomas.

The extension will take RT's Green Line from the Richards Boulevard/Township 9 stop all the way to Terminal B at Sacramental International Airport.

"Along Richards Boulevard and turn north on Sequoia," said RT's General Manager Mike Wiley, as he described the route.

"The bridge over the American River, for example, is probably the most expensive segment of the entire project on a per linear foot basis ... $50 million to $60 million," he said.

That is all part of a project to cost roughly $900 million, with about half to come from the federal government's "New Starts" program.

Some of the remaining millions could be funded by developer's fees now being paid out in Natomas, and voters would have to agree to pay some.

"Local sales tax would be needed," said Wiley, which means a route identified for long-term investment in 1991 still faces some big budgetary questions.

Some in the open house crowd didn't want to appear on camera, but they say they oppose the project because they don't feel the southern part of Truxel Road is equipped to deal with light rail.

The route won't be changed, but system managers did have a concession to offer.

"What kind of improvements can we make along Truxel? How can we ease traffic that's currently problematic along Truxel," Wiley said.

He said RT is committed to making the area better.

Regular riders are eager for the airport option.

Eddie Robinson told FOX40 he has a car, but rides light rail three times a day to avoid traffic.

But under current plans, Robinson and others may have to stay in their cars when they have a flight for about 10 more years. Proposed construction may not be complete until 2025.

RT will hold a second open house on its expansion plans, Dec. 2, starting at 6 p.m. at the Sacramento Public Library on I Street.