AD74’s Assemblyman and SD2 Candidate Allan Mansoor has made his position on the 405 Toll Lanes very clear, and more than once. Again in Friday’s Daily Pilot, his excellent commentary make the most important point of all for the Supervisorial District he wants to run: Toll lanes go against the spirit of Measure M funding.
By putting public employee unions before taxpayers, PEG, Caltrans and the legislative majority that passed SB 1298 will burden working-class taxpayers with exorbitant tolls to drive on roads they’ve already paid for. Who else is supporting the toll lanes? Wealthy corporate interests like [Big Lucy Dunn’s] Orange County Business Council (OCBC). They’re backing [Michelle Steel] a wealthy candidate from Los Angeles in the election to succeed John Moorlach on the Board of Supervisors. Their goal is to use Measure M funds to build the infrastructure to support toll lanes while fulfilling the Measure M promise of adding a lane to the 405. Then at some point in the future, they will convert what has already been built into toll lanes.
This issue really boils down to trust and truth. Without Measure M, Caltrans cannot build toll lanes on the 405 – they need to improve the infrastructure (widen bridges, etc.) first. But we already have the money to give Orange County everything it wants, for free, without tolls if we just cut the waste. County supervisors have a vote on OCTA and can stop the toll lanes from going forward. Let’s clean up the mess before grabbing more taxpayer money.
Mansoor is absolutely correct: “Without Measure M, Caltrans cannot build toll lanes on the 405”. The Orange County Transit Authority (all friends of Big Lucy’s, Master of the Universe Curt Pringle and SOCO huckster Roger Faubel‘s) committed that Measure M Funds that are collected solely in the OC as a voter-approved half-cent increase to our County-wide sales tax would never be used for tolling. Caltrans intends to take control of any additional lanes that OCTA builds on the 405 with M funding and convert them to toll lanes, along with the existing HOV/Carpool lane.
Current SD2 Supervisor John Moorlach also published his take on Mansoor’s editorial this afternoon: MOORLACH UPDATE — Caltrans Sunshine? — September 27, 2014. He mentions the Caltrans audit and concludes:
It is such a sad commentary that Caltrans is trying to run Orange County’s life and is telling it to get in line, but they’re using the dues that its residents have been paying (see MOORLACH UPDATE — Troubling Toll Lanes — September 23, 2104). Caltrans appears to be a fiscally sloppy organization that it is out of control and grasping for revenues. “How much does it cost? I’ll buy it!” Unbelievable. “[Caltrans] can’t even run [its] own life, I’ll be damned if [it runs] mine – sunshine.”
SD2’s new Supervisor will automatically be a member of the Orange County Transportation Authority Board (Allan served on it previously as Costa Mesa’s Mayor, but Steel is an outsider who’s never held any political position in the OC). The five County Supervisors have the same vote as the other twelve Board members, but politically far more clout than the others, and particularly the Public Members like the worthless Greg Winterbottom.
As we’d done in the past, Allan also raises a huge question on why we should be doing any business with Caltrans at all: “In May, 2014, the LAO released a review of staff support costs at Caltrans (also known as capital outlay support, or COS). The report determined that COS is overstaffed by 3,500 full time employees, at a cost of more than $500 million per year.” Further, he wrote,
This $500 million of waste is more than five times the cost of building a second free lane on the 405. It’s also notable that the 3,500 employees pay lots of union dues that go to the political campaigns of politicians that allow this waste.
OCPB had already endorsed Assemblyman Mansoor for Supervisor (Editor’s Note: “Michelle Steel is a carpetbagger and she is being promoted by the same sick bunch that gave us the depraved former OC Sheriff Mike Carona”) as we fear that Michelle Steel only represents the interests of the mainstream County GOP and the self-serving individuals mentioned above. Neither is it clear that she even lives in Orange County, but rather in Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsula where her husband’s personal injury law practice is based. As this Toll Lane atrocity gets more involved (the OCTA will not let it go), Steel has yet to articulate her position on them, so we’ll assume the worst — that she’ll be led to them by special interests, and make enemies of the corridor cities in the District she wishes to lead — not a great start to what’s otherwise been a respectable but state-focused career that only included the Board of Equalization.
We recommend a drastic, but foolproof resolution for the stillborn death of the 405 Toll Lanes. Allan Mansoor can’t likely take the risk this close to election day of bringing the unions down on him or alienating so many people that feed at the OCTA trough, but the only sure-fire way of eliminating the threat of Toll Lanes on a freeway we’ve already paid for is to shut off the money and: