IMPROVEMENTS IN ROADS BOOSTED PROJECTS CALLED VITAL TO AREA.Byline: Eugene Tong Staff Writer
VALENCIA - Despite financing difficulties, state and local officials on Thursday touted such road projects as the Cross-Valley Connector and Golden State Freeway The Golden State Freeway is a north-south freeway running through Kern County and Los Angeles County, California. Originally built as U.S. Highway 99, it was re-signed as Interstate 5 in 1964. improvements as essential to the north county's future economic health.
At the annual Golden State Gateway Coalition forum in Valencia, Barry Sedlik, the undersecretary for the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency, said state transportation investment is of long-term importance to economic development in the area.
``We need to accommodate that growth,'' he told the convening government and business leaders at the Hyatt Valencia. ``We need to have the infrastructure.''
Formed in 2002, the Santa Clarita-based coalition lobbies to improve transportation along Interstate 5 from southern Kern County to the northern San Fernando Valley San Fernando Valley
Valley, southern California, U.S. Northwest of central Los Angeles, the valley is bounded by the San Gabriel, Santa Susana, and Santa Monica mountains and the Simi Hills. .
Forum participants - who included U.S. Rep. Howard P. ``Buck'' McKeon, state Assemblyman as·sem·bly·man
A man who is a member of a legislative assembly.
pl -men a member of a legislative assembly
Noun 1. Keith Richman Dr. Keith S. Richman is a California, United States, Republican politician. From 2001 to 2007, he served in the California State Assembly representing the 38th Assembly District based in Northwest Los Angeles County. , Santa Clarita Santa Clarita, city (1990 pop. 110,642), Los Angeles co., S Calif., suburb 30 mi (48 km) NW of downtown Los Angeles, on the Santa Clara River; inc. 1987. Situated in the Santa Clara valley and nearby canyons, Santa Clarita includes the former towns of Canyon Country, Mayor Bob Kellar and Palmdale Mayor Jim Ledford - rallied behind ongoing road projects. But gathering funding for the work has been tough.
McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, said he remembers being told four decades ago, when his family moved to the area, that the Cross-Valley Connector was coming through the next year.
``It's good because I don't feel any older,'' joked McKeon, who is running for a seventh term representing the 25th Congressional District Noun 1. congressional district - a territorial division of a state; entitled to elect one member to the United States House of Representatives
district, territorial dominion, territory, dominion - a region marked off for administrative or other purposes in the House of Representatives.
The 8.5-mile east-west road, which will link the Golden State and Antelope Valley freeways The Antelope Valley Freeway is a freeway in Los Angeles and Kern counties in southern California. It is signed as California State Highway 14 along its length. It connects Greater Los Angeles to the rapidly developing Antelope Valley. through Santa Clarita, costs an estimated $245 million. The project recently received $3 million in federal funding, with an additional $5 million awaiting congressional approval.
On Interstate 5, the coalition has pressed the construction of commuter and truck lanes from the Antelope Valley Freeway interchange to Calgrove Boulevard, then continuing the car-pool lane to state Highway 126. The estimated cost totals $184 million, but funding remains uncertain.
Victor Lindenheim, the coalition's executive director, warned that traffic on the I-5 between Calgrove Boulevard and the Antelope Valley Freeway is projected to more than double in the next 20 years.
Richman, R-Granada Hills, said there is state infrastructure funding provided under Proposition 42, the ballot initiative approved in 2002 levying a gasoline tax Noun 1. gasoline tax - a tax on every gallon of gasoline sold
excise, excise tax - a tax that is measured by the amount of business done (not on property or income from real estate) to pay for road and highway improvements. But the roughly $1 billion a year collected has been tapped in subsequent years to offset the state deficit.
``It's critical we close that Prop. 42 loophole,'' said Richman, also running for re-election in the 38th Assembly District.
Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 eugene.tong(at)dailynews.com