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Group Draws Up Transit Priorities

Los Angeles

Government and business leaders hope to focus lobbying efforts on 10 regional projects.

August 04, 2004|Jia-Rui Chong | Times Staff Writer

Officials from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, businesspeople and local elected officials unveiled a $9-billion top 10 list of "traffic buster" projects Tuesday that included new carpool lanes on the San Diego Freeway and a light-rail line to Santa Monica.

Assembled for an annual transportation conference in Burbank, the officials said they created the consensus list to focus the county's often-divergent lobbying efforts in Sacramento and Washington.

"I lived in San Diego and Texas and we always knew L.A. was a weak target," said the MTA's chief executive, Roger Snoble.

With this list, he explained, "We're going to speak with one voice from Los Angeles County, saying, 'These are the ways we can solve the problems,' and hopefully give our elected officials the energy and the will to go ahead."

Los Angeles Mayor James K. Hahn said he hoped that a united lobbying effort could finally help Los Angeles get its proportional share of transportation dollars.

"We pay over $1.4 billion in gas taxes here in Southern California and we get $1.2 billion if we're lucky," he said.

"We think those taxes ought to stay here."

This is the first-ever top 10 list for the group, known as Mobility 21, that advocates for transit funding. The list was expanded because more members have joined the group and managing freight traffic is more important now, Snoble said.

Recent additions to the priority list include $1.3 billion for an extension of the Gold Line from Pasadena to Montclair; $1 billion for the Long Beach Freeway to add lanes, a new bridge and other improvements aimed at improving freight transit; and $350 million for carpool lanes on the San Bernardino Freeway from the 605 Freeway to the Orange Freeway.

Another new proposal asks for $120 million for improvements at Los Angeles International Airport that include connecting the Green Line to a people-mover and expanding the number of remote check-in desks, where passengers can take a shuttle directly to LAX.

Other items on the list are:

* Carpool lanes on the northbound San Diego Freeway between the Santa Monica and Ventura freeways. Cost: $1.5 billion.

* A light-rail line from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica. Cost: $1.35 billion.

* Bridges at street crossings along 35 miles of railroad tracks in the San Gabriel Valley known as the Alameda Corridor East. Cost: $920 million.

* Additional lanes on the Santa Ana Freeway from the Orange County border to the 605 Freeway and on the Golden State Freeway between the Ventura and Hollywood freeways. Cost: $910 million.

* Extending the Gold Line six miles from downtown Los Angeles to East L.A. Cost: $900 million.

* Adding municipal bus service and Metrolink commuter trains. Cost: $300 million.

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