Sales tax Measure M authorized an additional 0.5 percent sales tax for transportation.

Sales tax Measure M authorized an additional 0.5 percent sales tax for transportation.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority board of directors on Thursday approved a $1.4 billion budget and related partnership agreements for an 11.5-mile extension of the Foothill Gold Line light rail route from Glendora to Claremont.

This is the first official budgeting of a significant block of funds from Measure M, the half-cent sales tax hike that L.A. County voters approved last November.

“This second phase of the Foothill Gold Line is truly significant because it’s the very first Measure M transit project out of the gate,” John Fasana, Los Angeles County Metro board chair and Mayor Pro Tem for the city of Duarte, said in a statement. “It will establish the early momentum we need to launch our ambitious new traffic improvement plan that will yield tremendous transportation benefits for the entire Los Angeles County area.”

The Foothill Gold Line extension project goes from the line’s current terminus in Glendora to Montclair in San Bernardino County. But the Los Angeles County Metro can only fund the portion in Los Angeles County. The last mile or so of the project must be funded by San Bernardino County transportation authorities.

In addition to Measure M funds, Metro intends to apply for a $249 million grant from the state’s Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program. If that money does not become available, the transit agency will search for other sources of funding, the agency said in the statement.

Besides approving the budget, the Metro board approved a partnership agreement with the Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority, the agency that will build the extension.

“This project will create a critical new transit connection for Los Angeles, the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire areas when it’s completed,” Phillip Washington, the transit agency’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The Foothill Gold Line Construction Authority is a great partner in helping us expand our public transportation infrastructure. We look forward to partnering with them to deliver this project on-time and on-budget.”

Public policy and energy reporter Howard Fine can be reached at hfine@labusinessjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter @howardafine.