IRVINE, Calif. — Orange County Business Council (OCBC) commends San Bernardino Associated Governments Board’s 25-3 vote yesterday in favor of exploring express lanes for the I-10 and I-15 Corridor Improvement projects. The vote directs staff to complete the Preliminary Engineering and Environmental Studies for the I-10 express lane alternative. Due to a recognized lack of funding, the board is now only considering express lanes for the I-15 Corridor Improvement project.
This action is similar to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board’s 2009 decision to add “Alternative 3” for consideration to the I-405 Improvement project, which would provide commuters with both a free and express lane from SR-73 to SR-22. However, the latest OCTA Staff Report indicates that the board is not interested in continuing with this option and recommends moving forward with just one free lane.
“As a California Transportation Commissioner, I applaud San Bernardino for moving toward implementing express lanes and looking at innovative locally controlled solutions for transportation funding,” said Lucy Dunn, who also serves as President and CEO of OCBC. “The business community hopes that OCTA will keep express lanes as a viable option so that Orange County does not suffer mobility challenges while surrounding counties solve funding shortfalls and traffic congestion.”
Orange County’s population is growing rapidly and gas taxes have not covered the cost for freeway improvements. However, even with the successful 91 express lanes under its control, OCTA is one of the only transportation agencies in California to move away from the best option available to improve a degraded I-405 freeway. Los Angeles, San Diego, Riverside, and the Bay Area have already successfully employed express lane technology. Recent data from Metro’s “Express Lane Update” shows that more than 7,000 additional drivers daily use the I-110 since adding the express lanes and commute times were dramatically cut. An express lane on I-405 has the potential of raising $1.5 billion in funding for Orange County transportation projects.
Orange County Business Council is the leading voice of business in Orange County, California. OCBC represents and promotes the business community, working with government and academia, to enhance Orange County’s economic development and prosperity in order to preserve a high quality of life. OCBC serves member and investor businesses with nearly 250,000 employees and 2,000,000 worldwide. In providing a proactive forum for business and supporting organizations, OCBC helps assure the financial growth of America’s sixth largest county. For more information, visit www.ocbc.org.
# # #