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Toll Roads

CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 7, 2011 | By Nicole Santa Cruz, Los Angeles Times
Each time Stephanie Hatch drives from her home in South Orange County to San Diego, she takes a deep sigh. Hatch of Trabuco Canyon avoids taking her toddler son south — despite attractions such as Sea World and the zoo — for one reason: traffic. The last time she drove that way was last spring. But if there were an alternative to the 5 Freeway, she said, that would change. "You think, 'Oh gosh, this would be so much nicer if we had the toll road,'" she said. Hatch is referring to an extension of the 241 Toll Road, which has been discussed for years but is vehemently opposed by environmentalists, among others.
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BUSINESS
September 14, 2011 | By Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times
Drivers of electric and other alternative-fuel vehicles enjoy a special perk: They can drive solo in California's carpool lanes. But under a controversial plan proposed by local traffic agencies, those drivers will have to pay to use two heavily used carpool lanes that are being converted to toll roads. It has riled electric-car shoppers and alternative-fuel-vehicle advocates who worry that this is the first step in chipping away at a California tradition of letting solo drivers of autos with new technology and low emissions onto carpool lanes.
NEWS
July 7, 2011 | Abby Sewell and Sam Allen, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
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.
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.
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