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VALLEY ROUNDUP | Valleywide

MTA Urged to Hurry Funding for Junction

October 17, 1998|SUE FOX

Joining the chorus pleading for relief from bumper-to-bumper traffic jams at a crucial Valley junction, the City Council urged the MTA on Friday to step on the accelerator to deliver funding for construction of two new lanes.

But Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials said the decision to prioritize work at the teeming interchange between the San Diego and Ventura freeways is not in their hands. The job of ranking projects by importance, they said, belongs to Caltrans.

Caltrans spokeswoman Margie Tiritilli said her agency will submit a list of projects to the MTA in December--with the clogged 405-101 interchange on the list. The projects have not yet been ranked, she said.

"Whether you're going east or west, north or south, you're going to be delayed at this interchange," said Ali Sar, a spokesman for Councilman Hal Bernson, who is on the MTA board.

Bernson introduced a motion at an MTA meeting Thursday to make the interchange a priority and joined Councilman Richard Alarcon in bringing a similar resolution before the council.

The council urged the MTA to seek $10 million for the project from the California Transportation Commission. These funds, part of a larger pot of unspent state money, will go to Los Angeles anyway under a formula that gives each region its share, said Ray Maekawa, an MTA planner.

Once the MTA gets both the money and the Caltrans priority list, he said, "We go down the list and fund as much as we can."

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