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$50 Million OKd for Golden State Carpool Lanes

Transit: The freeway upgrades, which had been denied initially, are to be completed by 2007.


Proposed carpool lanes for the Golden State Freeway in the San Fernando Valley are back on track after the California Transportation Commission agreed Thursday to allocate $50 million toward the project.

In April, the state commission denied a $193-million request by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to help complete carpool lanes in both directions on the Golden State Freeway between the Hollywood Freeway and California 134.

The move could have delayed the project four or five years.

The new decision--which came after officials from the governor's office, the California Department of Transportation and the MTA worked together on a new financing package that would fund the project in stages--allows the extra lanes to be completed as originally scheduled in 2007, said David Yale, the MTA's director of regional planning.

Yale praised the San Fernando Valley Transportation Strike Force, an advocacy group dedicated to expediting the area's transportation projects, for working behind the scenes "to emphasize the importance of the project to legislators and the governor's office."

David Grannis, executive director of the strike force, said timely completion of the carpool lanes is "a huge, huge benefit for everyone. We didn't want this delayed five years."

The high-occupancy vehicle lanes will help advance Caltrans' plans to eventually connect Palmdale to downtown Los Angeles in a continuous path for carpoolers, said Raja Mitwasi, the agency's deputy district director for programs.

"That's going to help congestion," he said.

The funding, approved at the commission's meeting in Walnut Creek, will now allow planning, design, engineering and initial construction to begin, Yale said.

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