Sacramento Road Trip – Lobbying Items – Transportation
Project Description & Funding Request
The Golden State Gateway Coalition advocates funding the design and construction of The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority proposal to add northbound and southbound truck lanes and carpool lanes to Interstate 5 in northern Los Angeles County.
We are now requesting $22.1 million in funding for design of the I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project. Total design costs are estimated at $34 million.
The $220 million project would add one truck lane and one High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane to the north and southbound Interstate 5 between Route 14 and the Pico/Lyons exit; and, add one HOV lane from Route 14 to the Parker exit in both directions, approximately 33 miles of roadway. The project also entails improvements to The Old Road, the road that serves as an alternate to the I-5 through the Newhall Pass.
The preliminary design and alternatives analysis (Project Study Report), funded by the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), was completed and subsequently approved by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) in March, 2003. Through an innovative partnership with the private sector, environmental review and preliminary design efforts were begun by Caltrans in FY 2006. The EIR/EIS for the project is on track for completion by July, 2008. Project construction is estimated to begin by 2010 and completed in 2014.
All the components of the I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project are included in the Regional Transportation Plan for Los Angeles County. In 2005, $1.6 million was authorized by the Congress for the I-5 Gateway Improvement Project in the national transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU).
The I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project is critical to the mobility and goods movement needs of the region and the state. This view is reflected in studies and plans produced by the Southern California Association of Governments and Governor Schwarzenegger’s office. The project is cited and recommended for funding in the Governor’s Goods Movement Action Plan, released earlier this year.
Daily traffic counts in 2005 exceeded 206,000 just north of the I-5/SR 14 interchange, resulting in routine gridlock. And traffic here is projected to more than double in less than twenty years. According to MTA, the proposed carpool lanes and truck lanes will increase the capacity of this roadway segment by 50%.
Along with mitigating traffic congestion, the I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project will provide significant economic, environmental and public safety benefits to all Interstate 5 users. This portion of Interstate 5 serves as the “Gateway” to Southern California and currently carries well over half a million trucks each month. This volume of truck traffic is projected to increase dramatically, fed by growth in commerce and seaport and air cargo. The proposed truck lanes over the Newhall Pass will also provide for the much-needed separation of “slower” trucks from the other vehicles traveling on Interstate 5.
The I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project will serve one of the largest and fastest growing regions in Los Angeles County – – with a population projected to double in 25 years to 1.2 million people, and currently host to more than 1,500 companies employing more than 60,000 people in the Santa Clarita Valley alone. The project deserves to be funded and built without delay: it is cost-effective, beneficial to a large population and enjoys widespread community support.