It has taken a long time, but Orange County motorists are finally going to have the same security along the county's 133 miles of freeway that roadside telephones have provided to Los Angeles drivers for the past two decades.
The installation of the freeway phones was assured by the endorsements from city councils throughout the county of a $1-per-year fee on vehicle registrations to pay for installing and maintaining the emergency system.
Residents and local officials have wanted the call boxes for years, but the county lacked the funds and the state refused to share costs. Legislation sponsored by state Sen. Marian Bergeson (R-Newport Beach) and spearheaded locally by county Supervisor Harriett Wieder, Brea Mayor Clarice Blamer and the Orange County Grand Jury provided the funding and support needed to create the emergency phone system.
If all goes according to plan, the freeway phones should be in place at half-mile intervals on all county freeways sometime next year. That's good news for the 16,000 stranded motorists who are expected to use the call boxes each month.