On December 15, 2011 the U.S. Department of Transportation selected the 91 Freeway Corridor Project for a $20 million grant in the third stage of the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grants (TIGER III), thanks to advocacy efforts of Representatives Ken Calvert and Jerry Lewis, and Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein. The bipartisan federal grant will create as many as 16,000 jobs over the project’s five years of construction. With 2011 state unemployment rates at 11.3 %, these new jobs are vital to economic development.

As noted by OCBC Board Member and OCTA CEO Will Kempton, “Southern California’s construction industry has suffered tremendous unemployment over the past few years” and transportation projects provide relief to the hardest-hit construction industry by creating good paying jobs.  Gary Toebben, Vice Chair of Mobility 21 and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce President and CEO, acknowledged “relieving chokepoints at the ports will help get goods to market faster… and boost our economy.”

Further, the 91 freeway is a main connector causing traffic congestion between Southern California counties.  The completion of this project will yield roughly three days additional time per year commuters will not spend stuck in traffic.

The California Transportation Commission awarded $5 million in supplemental funds to CalTrans District 11 to improve the 91 freeway and avoid closing 15 off ramps, which would hurt small businesses and the community. This cooperation is a great example of business and government balancing project objectives with business needs in a tough economy. For more information contact Kate Klimow, Vice President of Government Affairs.

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