EDITORIAL DEAD ON ARRIVAL? TOLL LANE - AND ALL OTHER OPTIONS - SHOULD BE ON THE TABLE FOR 405 RELIEF.
OK. But then what, exactly, is their plan for bringing traffic relief to our most impossibly congested freeway?
To be sure, the local leaders - including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, county Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and Assemblywoman Cindy Montaez - have good reason for their opposition to the toll road. Los Angeles commuters, they say, shouldn't have to pay extra simply to get to and from work.
That said, wouldn't an imperfect toll lane be better than a nonexistent free lane?
Despite Rep. Howard Berman's best efforts, Southern California's impotent congressional delegation was only able to obtain $130 million for the project in the federal transportation bill - a pittance compared with the haul other, more effective representatives were able to rake in for their communities. That means that, after $100 million in promised state and local funds, we're still at least $270 million short to complete the project.
And if the project is not started by 2009, the $130 million in federal funding could be jeopardized.
So while toll lanes might not be the ideal solution, it would seem that no option should be ``dead on arrival.'' Better to explore all possibilities than to deprive the region of any traffic relief it can get.
Meanwhile, we can only assume that the lawmakers who are so quick to dismiss the idea of a toll lane must be confident in their ability to raise the funds in some other way. Let's hope that confidence is well justified.
Because if the end result of their intransigence is no toll lane - and no car-pool lane at all - then it may well be their next campaigns that are dead on arrival.