From the AD74 office today:
Next Monday morning, OCTA will be voting on the future of the 405. The OCTA Board will be voting to choose one of the following three options as the “Locally Preferred Alternative”:
- Alternative 1: Expand the freeway by one lane, fulfilling the promise made to Orange County voters when they approved the Measure M sales tax increase;
- Alternative 2: Expand the freeway by two free lanes, fulfilling the Measure M promise and adding a second lane for only 8 percent more; or
- Alternative 3: Add a toll lane, convert the carpool lane into a toll lane, along with one additional lane. Under this alternative, there is no net increase in free lanes, violating the Measure M promise that the 405 will get one new free lane.
There are other problems with adding toll lanes to this section of the 405. Chiefly, OCTA wants to use the 91 as a model. This means that residents who live along this section of the 405 will not be able to access the toll lanes – even if they could afford to pay more than $15 per day for the privilege of driving on lanes they already paid for. Similarly, commuters using the lanes will not be able to exit and access local businesses, hurting the local economy.
Last month, I personally delivered more than 1600 letters to OCTA from local residents opposed to toll lanes on the 405. At that meeting, the board voted to delay a decision, citing the need for additional research.
A key component of that research was a wish list from cities along the 405 of projects they would like to fund with toll revenues. The response: The mayor of every city along the 405 signed a letter stating their desire to keep the 405 free. You can see the letter here.
Last week, the OC Register reported that OCTA staff might be backing off of the toll lane proposal, and this morning an OCTA Committee recommended to the board that they proceed with Alternative 1 (see article). Alternative 2, with two lanes will only cost $100 million more than the $1.3 billion Alternative 1.
With respect to toll lanes, the full OCTA Board must affirm today’s committee vote before we can safely say that there will not be tolls on the 405. So we need to continue our efforts to make sure that OCTA knows OCTA wants to keep the 405 free. But we must also continue to let them know that the community wants and expects them to build Alternative 2. The additional cost for Alternative 2 is a tiny fraction of the overall project.
The OCTA meeting is Monday, November 9, 2013 at 9:00 a.m at the OCTA Headquarters located at 550 S. Main St. in Orange. I understand that most people cannot attend meetings on Monday mornings because they have to work. But I’ll be there, not only because representing you at meetings like this is part of my job, but also because it is the right thing to do. If you can’t make it to the meeting, what can you do to help?
- Sign the petition at www.KeepThe405Free.com. I will print out individual letters from everyone who signs and present them to the OCTA board Monday morning.
- Tell your friends to sign the petition. It only takes a minute to sign and it only takes a minute to forward this message to some of your friends. We need to show OCTA that Orange County residents oppose toll lanes on the 405.
- Like our Facebook page so you can stay informed on future updates.
I hope to see you Monday morning at the OCTA meeting so we can tell them ourselves. But if you are like most other Orange County residents, I’m sure it’s practically impossible to be there. So the next best thing is to sign the petition at www.KeepThe405Free.com/petition.