Congress held a joint House-Senate hearing in Los Angeles on Feb. 23 on transportation, where local leaders urged support for the region's visionary "30/10" Plan. The Transit Coalition and the Regenerative Communities Project unveiled a transit project that illustrates the dramatic benefits this plan will provide to local commuters.
"Southern Californians spend millions of hours stuck in traffic every year," said Bart Reed, executive director of the Transit Coalition. "The solution is to provide better alternatives so that those who can take transit could choose to do so, reducing congestion for those who have to drive."
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) 30/10 Plan would accelerate 30 years of projects into 10 years by leveraging the Measure R sales tax revenue passed by over 2/3 of L.A.-County voters in 2008. Measure R consists of over two dozen transit and highway projects scheduled over 30 years. The final project, along the I-405 Freeway, would receive the greatest benefit from the 30/10 Plan. The 30/10 Plan would borrow against the 30-year revenue stream through federal programs that enable public and private financing; both Republicans and Democrats have expressed interest.
"Drivers who can't avoid gridlock on the 405 get the biggest bang for the buck with the 30/10 Plan," continued Reed. "If Metro can move forward with 30/10 by building a direct rail tunnel from the San Fernando Valley to Westwood, commuters could go from Ventura Boulevard to Wilshire Boulevard in just six minutes. This project is the linchpin of the 30/10 Plan, connecting Metrolink, Orange Line, Wilshire subway and Expo rail together. The I-405 Rail Corridor would give commuters from Santa Clarita, Simi Valley and the Antelope Valley an alternative that can be faster than driving to job centers in Westwood, Century City and Santa Monica."
The I-405 Rail Corridor Long Term Vision map is the first of its kind identifying a specific route implementation for the project, for which Metro intends to begin the scoping process later this year. "It combines the Sepulveda Pass and Van Nuys segments from Measure R to create one seamless project that not only provides benefits to people along the route, but also extends rapid transit within reach of suburban residents, linking the network together," said Reed.
The I-405 Freeway carries over 300,000 trips across the Sepulveda Pass every day. Two of the nation's top freeway interchanges by traffic volume, I-405/I-10 and I-405/U.S. 101, are along this corridor, demonstrating the ridership potential. An existing project to add a northbound high-occupancy vehicle lane on the I-405 Freeway is under construction.