Tag Archives: 405

California Transportation Commission Screws Los Angeles

(Cross-posted from The Courage Campaign)

Last week the California Transportation Commission made its preliminary recommendations on how to spend the first portion (about $2.8 billion) of the $19.9 billion in bond funding approved by voters last November. You may have heard by now that L.A. got seriously shortchanged. While we have 28% of the state’s population, the CTC is recommending we receive just 12% of this $2.8 billion; most egregious of all: a long planned expansion of the 405 freeway is left off the CTC’s list of recommendations.

While by any measure it seems an absurdity to underfund anti-gridlock projects in Los Angeles of all places, perhaps it was inevitable. A closer look at the CTC website reveals that not one commissioner is actually from Los Angeles (the closest is Larry Zarian from Glendale.) San Francisco? Check. Oakland? Check. San Diego? Check. Even West Covina, Riverside, and Riverton. But not one commissioner actually experiences Los Angeles traffic on a daily basis.

So, whose bright idea was this?

The California Transportation Commission consists of nine members appointed by the Governor.

Thanks a lot, Arnold.

The good news is the board won't make its final decision on funding until next Wednesday, so Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Speaker Fabian Nunez spent yesterday in Sacramento lobbying the commission to include the widening of the 405 among its first round of funded projects (amounting to an additional $730 million in funding.) To aid in their efforts, The Courage Campaign has launched a petition drive to give Los Angelenos the opportunity to let the CTC know just how important ending gridlock in Los Angeles is to us. Please join our effort in sending a message to the CTC today.

More on how the rest of the state fares over the flip…

As even the San Francisco Chronicle notes:

It seems the CTC staff steered an overly generous share of the funding to improving the "connectivity" of rural road systems. We empathize with the overall shortage of state and federal funding that has left rural projects waiting for many years, but the fact is that Proposition 1B was written and sold to voters as a remedy for "highly congested travel corridors in California."

The OC Register has a rundown of how some SoCal counties are faring in the CTC's recommendations:

  • Los Angeles: to receive $327.9 million; $1.78 billion requested.
  • Riverside: gets $112.4 million; $814.3 million requested.
  • San Bernardino: $153.4 million; $681.3 million requested.
  • San Diego: to receive $304.2 million; $1.73 billion requested.

Some local reaction:

The LA Times:

ANYONE WHO HAS ever sat in traffic in Los Angeles — and that's just about everyone who has ever visited Los Angeles — knows how crowded our freeways are. Yet state officials have inexplicably decided not to do as much as they can as soon as they can to make the region's roads less congested.

It's bad enough that the commission's staff axed projects such as carpool lanes on the 10 Freeway, one of the nation's busiest. Worse was its decision to dump a widening of the 405 that the Legislature put on the fast track last year. Fast-tracking allowed the plan to add a carpool lane on the northbound 405 between the 10 and 101 to proceed as a "design-build" project, meaning construction could start before a design was completed.

The SF Chron:

The San Francisco Bay Area is also getting shortchanged in the first wave of funding recommendations issued by the California Transportation Commission's staff.

Under the staff's recommendations, Bay Area projects would receive less than half of the Northern California bond allotment, even though the region accounts for about 85 percent of the north's congestion. Many vital projects in this region — from carpool lanes on I-580 to the Marin-Sonoma Narrows on Highway 101 — were left off the list.

S.D. Union Tribune:

San Diego County would be a chief victim; the plan would divert $261 million from Interstates 5, 15 and 805 to little-used roads in rural counties such as Highway 101 in Mendocino. Los Angeles is another commuter hell that would lose millions under the proposal.

One of the problems seems to stem from the fact that the commission is awarding just $2.8 billion this year and delaying an additional $1.7 billion to next year, even though they're authorized to disburse the full $4.5 billion this year. The reason for the delay would be an excellent question for the CTC board. Send them your questions and comments at our petition today.

Keep up to date on the subject over at Steve Lopez's excellent Bottleneck Blog