Drive point home about 405 gridlock

first_imgFor once, Giants and Dodgers fans agree! The CTC will take this matter up on Feb. 28. It’s critical for the people of L.A. to add their voices to the growing chorus demanding full funding for the 405. Please take some time to let the members of the commission know that they shouldn’t leave California’s most frustrated drivers stranded. You can reach the commission directly by phone at (916) 654-4245 or by e-mail at [email protected] Antonio Villaraigosa is the mayor of Los Angeles.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! CALIFORNIA voters approved a record $20 billion transportation bond last year because they believed it would help relieve traffic congestion on the state’s busiest highways. Three months later, a proposed funding plan before the California Transportation Commission proffers a paltry vision that won’t shave a split second from the worst commute in the nation: northbound Interstate 405 through the Sepulveda Pass. This proposal was greeted with howls across the state, but the disappointment is especially pronounced here in the Southland, which bears one-third of the state’s traffic burden. If the CTC’s members had ever sat in traffic on the 405 during rush hour, they would surely agree that we can no longer afford to postpone investments in this critical roadway. At peak driving times, traffic on the 405 is as thick as freshly poured concrete. You can walk faster than the flow of cars, which idle through the day as frustrated drivers fume. Three hundred thousand Westside and San Fernando Valley commuters are subjected to this routine daily. During the election, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger pointed to the 405 as a prime example of the kind of gridlock Proposition 1B would address. Sixty-five percent of L.A. County voters approved the bond, putting their faith in the promise that the state’s most critical needs would be addressed first. Now that voters have held up their end of the bargain, it’s time for the CTC to do the right thing. The governor, the speaker of the Assembly and even members of the commission itself have expressed dismay at this shortsighted plan. They’re standing behind the people of Los Angeles as we demand our fair share of transportation dollars. Twenty-eight percent of California residents live in L.A. County, yet under the current proposal, the region would receive only 12 percent of the available transportation funds. That’s plain wrong.We were promised traffic relief, and we are paying for it. Promises made should be promises kept. Even the newspapers in Northern California, whose readers face critical needs for resources at home, recognize the fairness issue at stake. “Los Angeles is getting a raw deal,” declared the San Francisco Chronicle. “Put money where it will help most,” opined the San Jose Mercury News, adding that the current proposal’s funding strategy is akin to “sprinkling a few gallons of water over a parched garden.” last_img

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