Orange County's freeways are in bad shape. Some need improving. Others need widening. Some freeways lie unfinished, miles short of where they are supposed to end. Others are just dotted lines on a map. What causes this freeway freeze is a shortage of funds.
Because newer and more fuel-efficient automobiles are using less gasoline and because state gas taxes have not been increased to compensate for that, Sacramento is woefully short of freeway funds. And Orange County voters, as they demonstrated last year in rejecting a sales-tax increase for transportation, aren't interested in funding transportation needs with more taxes. Still, the reality remains that it's going to take a significant amount of local participation to build any new freeways in the remainder of this century.
One local revenue source now being debated in the county is the use of developer fees levied against new homes and commercial buildings to help raise money for the proposed San Joaquin transportation corridor.
Another option that should finally be explored is the use of toll roads. To accomplish that, Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle (R-Huntington Beach) has introduced a bill that, if passed, would give Orange County the authority to build the state's first public toll roads. Prime candidates for the county's first "pay-as-you-go" thruways would be the proposed Eastern and Foothill corridors.