The proposed San Diego Trolley line extension to El Cajon received a shot in the arm Thursday when a state official said the California Transportation Commission is likely to approve about $6.5 million for the project.
Robert Nielsen, executive director of the commission, said in a telephone interview that he will recommend that the commission approve the funds when it meets next week in Sacramento. Last month trolley officials feared the project was doomed or would be delayed when Gov. George Deukmejian vetoed $8 million in state funds earmarked for the project.
Nielsen said the commission will make $2.7 million available for construction and an additional $3.8 million has already been guaranteed from state gasoline tax revenue. The money was necessary to match $20 million in federal construction funds already approved to help finance the extension. Congress has set aside an additional $31 million to help complete the East County line.
"We will recommend that the commission approve the $2.7 million. That way they (the Metropolitan Transit Development Board) can leverage that with the federal funds, which will allow them to proceed with the construction schedule. At this point I can't see why the commission wouldn't approve it. It's a good project," Nielsen said.