Motorists Asked to Join Grass-Roots Effort Urging Congress to Act
(Los Angeles, Feb. 14, 2005) — The Automobile Club of Southern California and the national office of AAA today urged Congress to pass the federal transportation funding reauthorization bill soon so that key traffic bottlenecks — including the I-710 and the 101–405 interchange in Los Angeles — can be fixed.
The federal transportation bill has been awaiting Congressional approval for almost two years while traffic continues to grow worse and fixes are delayed because of the lack of funding. Ten commuter "hot spots" cited by AAA represent some of the worst nationwide traffic conditions that would be alleviated by passage of the bill, and two of the "hot spots" are in Los Angeles County: the I-710, and the area around the I-405 and I-101 interchange.
"Southern California traffic is being squeezed by a healthy economy, a growing population and the fact that over one-quarter of the nation's imported goods travel on our roads and rails," said Dan Beal, the Auto Club's managing director for public policy. "At the same time our traffic problems are compounding, the solutions are being stalled because we are in one of the worst budget crises in state history, and approval of the federal transportation funding bill has been delayed since 2003."
Beal said the addition of truck lanes on the Long Beach Freeway (I-710), as well as the expansion of the San Diego Freeway/Ventura Freeway (101–405) interchange, are two of the most vital projects in the region. "These projects are directly affected by the delays in Washington, and their completion is crucial to our region's traffic safety, our ability to retain and create local jobs, and our quality of life," he said.
The Long Beach Freeway carries more than 47,000 trucks per day. As one of the oldest, most heavily used interstates in the area, it can no longer be "patched" to fix potholes. Current plans call for two additional lanes in each direction that will be used exclusively by trucks, additional lanes for commuters, and reconstruction of the pavement and median barriers to improve safety and travel times.
The 101–405 interchange in the San Fernando Valley is one of the most heavily congested spots nationwide. Afternoon "rush hour" in this area lasts for about five hours each weekday. Improvement plans for the freeway interchange include adding traffic lanes and carpool lanes, as well as a redesign of freeway connectors to improve safety and traffic flow.
"We want our members and all commuters to be aware that for every day this reauthorization bill is delayed, local transportation projects get further behind — eroding our quality of life and economic potential," Beal said. He urged anyone who is interested in this important issue to visit http://capwiz.com/aaapublicaffairs/home/ to obtain instant contact information for their local members of Congress so they can e-mail, write or phone them.
The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest AAA affiliate, has been serving members since 1900. Today, Auto Club members benefit by the organization's roadside assistance, financial products, travel agency and trip planning services, highway and transportation safety programs, insurance products and services and automotive pricing, buying and financing programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club's web site at www.aaa-calif.com.