Coalition makes its best case for expansion of truck routes on I-5.
Improving congestion along the Golden State freeway took a step closer to reality this week, as members of the Golden State Gateway Coalition made their case before the California Transportation Commission.
The group is hoping for a $2 billion chunk of the Transportation Corridor Improvement Fund (which comes out of the $20 billion Prop. IB monies approved by voters) to extend truck routes on the north and south bound I-5 near the Newhall Pass.
According to Victor Lindenheim, the coalition’s executive director, if funding is obtained, the northbound I-5 truck route would be extended from the interchange with the 14 freeway to Calgrove Avenue and southbound truck route would extend from the Pico/Lyons offramp to the 5-14 interchange.
“Our project has a lot in its favor,” he said. “Currently there are 200,000 cars going through there every day and that’s expected to double by 2030. If we can get the trucks out of the passenger vehicle lanes, that helps significantly. Our cost-benefit ratio is good, this is a public-private partnership project, it will improve air quality in the area and goes a long way to improve the safety of the corridor.”
Lindenheim admitted the competition is stiff. Representing the coalition at the commission meeting on Tuesday were several local politicians and decision-makers, including Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, Captain Steve Bernard, commander of the Newhall California Highway Patrol station, Glendale Mayor Ara Najarian, who also serves on the MTA board, Chris Perry of Congressman Buck McKeon’s office, Jarrod DeGonia of Assemblyman Cameron Smyth’s office, Charlie Gill, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, Ernie Villegas, formerly of Edison and now an independent consultant and local transportation expert Connie Worden-Roberts.
“We presented our project on its merits and I think we have a good chance,” Lindenheim said. “We’re doing everything we can and with enough support, we will succeed.”
A decision is expected in Sacramento in early April.