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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 7, 2011 | By Abby Sewell and Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times
Officials broke ground on what will be Los Angeles County's first freeway toll lanes, taking a gamble that drivers will be willing to pay significant sums to avoid rush-hour traffic. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials on Wednesday hailed the project as a major improvement to L.A.'s clogged freeway system. Officials plan to convert a total of 25 miles of existing carpool lanes on the 10 and 110 freeways into high-occupancy toll lanes. Carpools and buses will be able to use the lanes for free, while solo drivers will pay up to $1.40 a mile during peak rush-hour traffic.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 28, 2011 | By Lauren Williams, Los Angeles Times
A former Newport Beach fire official accused of racking up $26,000 in unpaid toll road fees while using a city vehicle has sued the city for alleged discrimination and retaliation against an injured worker, court records show. Paul Matheis, a former divisional fire chief, filed a lawsuit May 25 in Orange County Superior Court against the city of Newport Beach, alleging that the city began to retaliate against him after a shoulder accident that required time off in 2009. "You're talking about a 30-year veteran with an outstanding record here," said Wylie Aitken, an attorney representing Matheis.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 6, 2011 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Drivers on the San Joaquin Hills toll road through western Orange County could be paying tolls for an extra six years under a proposed agreement that would restructure about $430 million of its $2.1 billion in debt. The agreement is asking bondholders to lower payments for 13 years and restructure the way the agency pays interest on certain bonds. An agreement, which would push back the bond maturity dates by six years, to 2042, is expected in two weeks. "Basically … what we're trying to do is be proactive about the way we manage finances here at the agency," said Tom Margro, chief executive of the Transportation Corridor Agencies, which also operates the Foothill and Eastern toll roads, which includes a portion of the 133 Freeway.
OPINION
February 6, 2011
Checking out state workers' salaries Re "State turns up more big salaries," Feb. 2 So California state Controller John Chiang has demanded salary information from nearly 900 local government entities. The report is part of Chiang's effort to document the compensation of all government officials and employees in the state. I would hope that this will include state employees in general, and University of California and California State University administrators in particular.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 1, 2011 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Orange County's 51-mile network of toll roads, once hailed as a model in solving Southern California's traffic woes, is experiencing drops in ridership as commuters opt for more time on the freeway instead of paying tolls that can exceed $7.75 per trip at peak hours. The economic malaise has prompted transportation officials to resort to contests to lure new users. But for Christina Muscat and other drivers, money is tight, and it's a hard sell. She used to shave about 20 minutes off her commute from Rancho Santa Margarita to Westminster by using the toll roads; now she chooses the system only if she's in a hurry.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 2, 2009 | Dan Weikel
In a pending court settlement that could affect thousands of motorists, two Orange County toll road agencies have agreed to forgive more than $40 million in fines and pay $1.4 million to a group of drivers who alleged that they were charged excessive penalties for unpaid tolls. The proposed settlement involves the Orange County Transportation Authority, which owns the 91 Express Lanes on the 91 Freeway, and the Irvine-based Transportation Corridor Agencies, the operator of a 51-mile network of tollways comprising the Eastern, the Foothill and the San Joaquin Hills.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 24, 2009 | Dan Weikel
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority on Thursday set the tolls that for the first time will allow solo motorists to drive in carpool lanes on two of the region's most congested freeways. Los Angeles' first experiment with so-called congestion-based pricing is slated to begin in late 2010 or early 2011.
OPINION
June 14, 2009
Re "A toll on roads, and our souls," Opinion, June 10 Tim Rutten views toll lanes as unfair, comparing a hypothetical single mother and a wealthy partner who both leave a downtown Los Angeles law office at noon -- the mother to get her sick child from day-care. Both would pay tolls to avoid traffic -- trivial for the partner but a financial burden for her. Imagine the same scenario with no toll lanes. Our single mother hopes she'll lose only two hours of work time, but the freeways are jammed.
OPINION
June 10, 2009 | TIM RUTTEN
You can hang any number of shiny baubles on a mistake, like ornaments on a Christmas tree, but when you're done, all you've really got is a bad idea -- with glitter. Congestion pricing is just that sort of bad idea.
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