Per the LA Times and the OC Register late this a.m., the OCTA Board of Directors has voted against implementing Toll Lanes for the 405 Freeway. The Register’s Doug Irving (outside Paywall here) wrote in OCTA shelves I-405 toll-lane idea that the Board decided:
…to proceed with a $1.3 billion project to add a single free lane in each direction of the freeway. That project still needs to win agreement from Caltrans, which expects to decide early in 2014 whether to support it.
…the toll lane proposal had become so divisive that the agency was at risk of losing the confidence of voters who years ago approved a half-cent sales tax to widen the freeway.
Check Measure M, Darrell — there’s NOTHING about tolling in it — your predecessor Art Leahy and his minions would never have seen it passed if they were telling the truth about their long-term plans for revenue generation to pay for transit projects like he was denied when the CenterLine thankfully failed.
Divisiveness is far better than the corruption we normally see in the OC — it’s time for the long pants, bud. At least someone’s thinking about the taxpayers. Keep up this nonsense, Mr. CEO, and maybe Measure M won’t last as long as you think (or your job).
Johnson is also quoted in the Register:
…money is so tight that funding those additional lanes would endanger other freeway projects.
Neither the Times or Register chose to report the actual vote tally, or names for the ayes and nays.
The toll lanes were also supported by the fatuous Lucy Dunn and her Orange County Business Council.
Fallacious Funding Argument
Despite his claim that money’s “tight”, CEO Johnson is WELL AWARE that his bloated, over-staffed OCTA bureaucracy has already dropped about $190 million of primarily Measure M funds (which are collected via a County-wide sales tax) on Anaheim’s new ARTIC train station that was built on the ruse that Gov. Brown’s High-Speed Bullet Train was coming to Anaheim and a grand portal was necessary as a legacy to Mayor-for-Hire Curt Pringle. Perhaps Johnson could cut our losses and cancel this half-built project right now and contribute the unspent $95 million for building the badly needed second lane expansion which would benefit millions of Orange County commuters rather than Pringle’s ego. As it almost stands, ARTIC will only replace the Metrolink/Amtrak train station that’s more than adequately served Anaheim and Angels Stadium for many years.
As well, Johnson and his Board could be retrieving millions of Measure M funds that have been allocated to two ludicrous Streetcar projects in Anaheim and Santa Ana. Together, ARTIC and just the Anaheim Streetcar project represents one half BILLION dollars in wasteful spending that instead could have paid a good portion of the 405 two-lane expansion that’s favored by the affected cities mapped above, 2nd District Supervisor and OCTA Board member John Moorlach and Assemblyman Allan Mansoor who will introduce legislation in Sacramento to stop the toll lanes.
Update: A YouTube video of Asm. Mansoor’s Press Conference ahead of the OCTA Board Meeting this a.m. is here. Also speaking was Supervisor Moorlach and representatives from Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Los Alamitos and Westminster. Moorlach also noted in his remarks that the pernicious, unelected Southern California Association of Governments, like the OCBC, was pressuring the OCTA to adopt the “Alternative 3” toll lane strategy. We warned Darrell Johnson about SCAG’s INappropriate and possibly illegal influence on the OCTA last March.
Update: The union-funded Voice of OC updated its account of the Board meeting this afternoon. Unlike the lazier Register and LA Times, their account of the vote was comprehensive:
The vote among Transportation Authority directors was 11-4 in favor of adding the free lane, with directors Todd Spitzer, Matthew Harper, Gary Miller and John Moorlach opposed and Janet Nguyen abstaining. Pat Bates was absent from the meeting.
Apparently, Supervisor Janet Nguyen (her District includes Westminster and north Fountain Valley which she gerrymandered in 2010) voted an Obama-like present so as not to anger any potential contractor or engineer contributors to her upcoming campaign for State Senate, or the OC Business Council. Her absence at and lack of support for Mansoor’s press conference was notable as well. Jose Solorio, her opponent in the Senate race, will surely note this and use it as a campaign issue. His Register editorial from last month is here: Put brakes to I-405 toll-lane plan.
Update: OCTA Press Release.
Update: KABC video coverage. Todd Spitzer says toll lanes “not off the table”.