Ryan Hagen, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/16/2012 07:40:00 PM PDT

SAN BERNARDINO – A much-celebrated and much- criticized rapid bus line with stops from Cal State San Bernardino to the veterans hospital in Loma Linda is steadily nearing completion, unaffected by the city’s bankruptcy.

Construction is under way at many of the 16 stops along the sbX bus route, which will stretch from Palm Avenue and Kendall Drive to the Jerry L. Pettis Memorial Veterans Medical Center and is on pace to open in early 2014, project representatives said Thursday.

“Whatever is happening in the city, its struggles, is not our business,” said Rohan Kuruppu, the project’s director of planning.

But critics have charged that the project – which carries a total price tag of $191.7million – helped cause San Bernardino’s financial problems.

The federal government contributes 73.9percent of that, while 15.7percent comes from state sources.

It’s the remainder – 6.2percent from the county and 4.2percent split between in-kind contributions from the cities of San Bernardino and Loma Linda – where some find fault.

The county money comes from a voter-approved sales tax, Measure I, which sets aside 2percent for mass transit.

But that 2percent should go to other transportation-related projects, said Councilwoman Wendy McCammack.

“If it had not gone into sbX, it could have gone into our streets, sidewalks, other things that need work,” McCammack said. “All those decisions are made by the SanBAG board.”

Mayor Pat Morris, the city’s representative on the board of San Bernardino Associated Governments, the county transportation agency otherwise known as SanBAG, said that was untrue.

“The voters – by 80 percent – called out the 2percent and called out sbX,” Morris said. “This was the allocation voters made, to which SanBAG must be faithful.”

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