Sherman Presses for 405 Freeway Carpool Lane
Congressman Brad Sherman on Tuesday urged the California Transportation Commission to provide funds for construction of a northbound carpool lane on the heavily-congested 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass.
"It is imperative that Los Angeles receive its share of funding to construct projects that will relieve congestion, improve travel time for commuters and improve air quality in our region," Sherman said in a letter to the commissioners.
The proposed carpool lane on the 405 between the 10 and 101 freeways was not among the projects selected by Transportation Commission staff. Before going to the state capital to press the case at a hearing, Sherman on Monday joined Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other Los Angeles officials in urging Angelinos to call or write the Transportation Commission. The panel is expected to make a final decision later this month on which projects will receive the first $2.8 billion of a $19.9 billion transportation bond that California voters approved last fall.
"Los Angeles County voted overwhelmingly for the bonds. We represent 33 percent of the state's congestion. We ought to be getting a lot more than 12 percent of the state's money," Sherman said.
In a separate letter to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sherman warned that $130 million in federal funds for the project would be in jeopardy if the state fails to provide its share of the construction costs. The federal funding is contingent on construction beginning by 2009.
Moreover, Sherman told the governor, losing the freeway funds would be a blow to California's overall effort to win a fairer share of federal funding.
"If we fail to start construction of the 405 Freeway by the federal deadline, the return of $130 million to Washington, D.C., will be just a part of the damage done to the state's efforts to receive its fair share of federal funds," Sherman wrote to Schwarzenegger. "How can I urge my colleagues from other states to provide federal funds for California if $130 million is returned unspent? What could do more to discourage California members fighting for federal funds than to see $130 million returned?"