SACRAMENTO — The Assembly, acknowledging that state funding for freeways is insufficient to keep traffic flowing, passed legislation Tuesday that would permit construction in Orange County of California's first public toll roads.
Despite charges from opponents that toll roads are "un-Californian" and "elitist," the Assembly voted 45 to 30 to allow Orange County to build them to ease traffic on the crowded Santa Ana and San Diego freeways.
"This is the most important bill for Orange County this year," said the bill's sponsor, state Sen. John Seymour (R-Anaheim).
In a separate action involving automobiles, the Senate voted 21 to 10 to approve a bill by Assembly Speaker Willie Brown (D-San Francisco) that would require car makers to equip vehicles with carbon canisters to capture unburned fuel vapor starting with 1991 models. The bill, vigorously opposed by auto manufacturers, would also require service stations throughout the state to install vapor recovery nozzles now used in Southern California and other heavily polluted regions of the state.
Seymour's toll road bill is the first pay-highway measure to pass both houses of the Legislature. The measure requires that the toll roads be built parallel to existing highways, giving motorists a choice of routes. A county committee is studying routes.