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Bill Seeks to Speed Flow of Valley Highway Funds

March 08, 1985|MARK GLADSTONE | Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — State Sen. Alan Robbins (D-Van Nuys) has introduced a bill aimed at pumping millions of dollars into San Fernando Valley highway construction projects.

Without the measure, "it will be the mid-1990s before the San Fernando Valley . . . will get any money" for projects such as widening U.S. 101 and California 118 or building freeway sound walls, Robbins said.

Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sepulveda), the new chairman of the Assembly Transportation Committee, is co-authoring the measure, which was introduced Wednesday.

"Basically, this issue is that the Valley doesn't get its fair share," Katz said.

Concern for Commuters

Under the state's five-year transportation plan, Los Angeles County is supposed to get more than $1 billion. Two-thirds of the money has been earmarked to build the Century Freeway and improve the Harbor Freeway, according to the state Department of Transportation.

But Robbins said he wants money for projects that would affect Valley commuters. To meet his goal, Robbins proposes establishing a new Caltrans district, separate from the rest of the county. It would become the 13th district in the state.

If his bill passes the Legislature and is signed into law, Robbins said, Valley projects could receive $100 million over the next decade. Caltrans officials said they did not know how much the Valley would get because of the legislation.

Sits on Committee

Robbins said he is optimistic that his effort will succeed because he sits on the Senate Transportation Committee, which will hear the proposal, and he heads the budget subcommittee that allocates transit funds. He said Katz's support also would aid in passage of the bill.

However, Mehdi Morshed, consultant to the Senate Transportation Committee, said legislators from "the other 57 counties (in the state) probably would not like this," since they stand to lose money.

Caltrans spokesman Gene Berthelsen said the department has not had an opportunity to review the bill. But, he said, "In general, we would be against anything that would increase our costs, and creating a new district for this purpose probably would increase our costs."

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