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EDITORIAL CALL FOR 405 HELP DON'T LET THE STATE STIFF L.A. WITHOUT A FIGHT.

ONE matter on which all Angelenos can agree is that the 405 Freeway is a traffic nightmare that needs to be fixed. Now.

So it's inconceivable that the staff of the California Transportation Commission would propose stiffing the San Diego Freeway in the first rounds of traffic-relief funding to come from the $19.9 billion state transportation bond that voters endorsed in November. Specifically, the staff deliberately excluded funding to build a northbound car-pool lane -- let alone any other improvements.

This is a snub not just to Los Angeles, but to the entire region -- which, by the way, supported the bond measure because it was sold as a solution to nightmares such as the 405.

Yet, under the scheme being considered by the CTC, the region would get a mere $327 million -- just a fraction of the $1.5 billion that the experts at the California Department of Transportation recommended.

That figure equals just 12 percent of the transportation bonds being expended this round. And that surely doesn't add up to being fair to the county that has more than one-quarter of the state's inhabitants and more than one-third of its traffic.

L.A. County provides its share of tax revenue to the state and should receive a commensurate amount of transportation funds without having to put up a fuss.

Caltrans itself makes no bones about the freeway's significance in the commuting collective of Southern California. On its Web site, it notes that "Route 405 is one of the most important traffic arterials serving the Los Angeles and Orange County areas."

And yet local politicians have to scream, holler, threaten and cajole to get consideration of what should be an automatic priority for the traffic-relief portion of the bond. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa even dodged traffic on a rainy afternoon in Westwood for the TV cameras to get the word out.

A hearing on the matter is set for today in Sacramento, and a final decision will be made next week. The mayor and others are urging Angelenos to contact the CTC and protest the proposed funding scheme.

We'd like to help spread that message.

Anyone who cares about improving traffic in Southern California should contact the CTC at the phone number or e-mail address below and let it know that L.A. isn't going to take this snub without a fight.

Call the CTC at (916) 654-4245 or e-mail at california_transportation_commision@dot.ca.gov.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Feb 20, 2007
Words:406
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