By Jacob Wilson/Garden Grove Journal
“Taxpayers are already paying for improvements through Measure M,” Dale Bradbury said. “We shouldn’t have to pay twice.”
Measure M pays for freeway and street repairs and improvements through a half-cent sales tax in Orange County.
Westminster and surrounding cities like Fountain Valley and Costa Mesa also say no. Huntington Beach and some south Orange County cities apparently say yes.
The Orange County Transportation Authority Board of Directors will have its say Monday at 9 a.m. when it votes on The “Interstate 405 Improvement Project.” The project will widen the freeway between State Route 73 and Interstate 605.
The board actually has three alternatives to choose from. The first would add one general-purpose lane to each side for $1.3 billion. The second adds two lanes per side for $1.4 billion.
The third alternative would cost $1.7 billion and would add one general-purpose lane and one express lane per side. The freeway’s existing carpool lanes would also be converted to express lanes, giving the freeway two per side.
Solo drivers and drivers with one passenger would have to pay a toll to use the express lanes. Vehicles with three or more people would ride at a discount or for free based on traffic.
The OCTA Highway Committee recommends Alternative One, but leaves room to add the toll roads at a later date, said Diana Lee Carey, Westminster Traffic Commission member and I-405 Citizens Ad Hoc Committee chairperson.
“Their reasoning is to start with Alternative One now and expand to the toll roads at a later time,” she said.
The committee’s recommendation asks the board to “Direct staff to work with California Department of Transportation to ensure the final design of Alternative 1 does not preclude options that may be developed in the future to improve mobility in the corridor.”
Westminster Mayor Pro Tem Tri Ta and Carey will attend Monday’s meeting and want residents to join them.
“We want what’s best for the community and it’s definitely not Alternative Three,” Carey said.
Mayor Margie Rice joined with the mayors of Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Seal Beach, and Los Alamitos and the mayor pro tem of Huntington Beach to oppose Alternative Three and support Alternative Two.
“Alternative 3 burdens a large segment of the population to obtain transponders and pay to use the tax-payer funded improvements,” they wrote in a joint letter to OCTA Board member Bill Campbell.
They also said Alternative Two is a better value because of the benefits to commuters and cities. Huntington Beach Mayor Don Hansen, an OCTA Board member, supports Alternative Three.
The OCTA Board of Directors meets in Room 154 at 600 South Main Street in Orange.