OC Uses Stimulus Funds for 91 Widening, Press Rejoices

6_1_09_octa.gifImage: OC Register

Trumpeting the dubious claim that the answer to regional car congestion is funding highway expansion, Orange County politicians and press are celebrating the federal government’s decision to allocate $68 million in stimulus funds for the expansion of the I-91 between Riverside County and the 241 Toll Road.  As we’ve seen in the past, the governments claims that road widenings are good public policy go completely unchallenged in the press even as the state tries to devise no ways to battle sprawl development.

This short story from Inland Today follows the typical template for a piece on road widening, a couple of facts about the issue are surrounded by claims that the widening will make everyone’s life better.  In this case, the facts are some information about how stimulus funding is allocated sandwiched between two paragraphs about how great the 91 widening is for everyone.

The great irony is, that even as the OC Register declares in its headline, "Feds approve $68 million to help drivers unclog the 91;" the Sacramento Bee reports that drivers really are helping to unclog California freeways.  Of course, we’re doing it by driving less, not by…ok, I’m not really sure how "drivers" are helping unclog the 91 in the Register’s world.

  • Erik

    One thing I haven’t seen. Whenever one of these projects gets funded, they do a study to project what the average speed on the roadway will be after the project is done versus what it is now. I bet w/o even looking at the articles that they don’t quote this number (the LA Times one didn’t) and that the difference between the two will likely only be 5MPH at best.

  • Erik G.

    With all the latent demand presently using the toll lane or the 91 Line on Metrolink through the same corridor, that added lane will just be filled the day after it is open and we will all scratch our heads and wonder “Where did all these cars come from?” like we have in all the past road widening projects throughout history.

  • Ha, what a joke. The OC has always been one giant parking lot. Building more freeway space and lanes, as the person above commented, just fills up quickly with more cars.

    Why?

    Because that’s why.

  • Erik G.

    BTW, if they want to free up capacity, why not just make the whole thing a Toll Road?

  • Bud

    It must be California Rte 91. I-91 runs NS in New England.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

OC Using Stimulus Funds to Widen the 91

|
Last stop before the 91/241 interchange.  Photo: kllm14369/Flickr "That ain’t Change, it’s more of the same!" was an applause line used frequently during last fall’s presidential campaign by Senator Joe Biden to critique many of the proposed policies of Senator McCain and Governor Palin.  Watching how stimulus funds are spent in California, transportation reformers and […]

Calpirg, Smart Growth America Slam State Stimulus Spending

|
When the government passed the stimulus bill last spring, it set a 120 day deadline for states to allocate at least half of transportation funds in the bill. As that deadline passes today, CALPIRG and Smart Growth America released a report detailing how California is spending its stimulus dollars. The news isn’t good.  Despite pretty […]

Today’s Headlines

|
Joe Got Married! (Facebook) Meetings, Public Comment Scheduled for Rail Line from SFV to Sherman Oaks (Daily News, The Source) Exploring the Garcetti Proposal to Bond Against Measure R Funds for Road Repairs (Neon Tommy) Jim Newton: How About We Talk About the Candidates’ Port Connections (LAT) Republican Congressmen Want to Stop CAHSR (CAHSR Blog, […]
STREETSBLOG USA

Expanded, Simplified TIFIA Still Greasing the Gears of Highway Expansion

|
A federal loan awarded to a California highway illustrates how TIFIA, the “innovative” transportation financing program that was expanded as part of MAP-21, is still funding business-as-usual highway projects. U.S. DOT announced last week that it would back California’s SR 91 highway expansion in suburban Los Angeles with $421 million in low-interest loans. The project […]

For Goodness’ Sake, Stop Widening the 405

|
Albert Einstein says that the definition of insanity is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I have bad news for transportation planners at OCTA and Caltrans. You’ve gone insane. And the disease is spreading. The Orange County Transportation Authority and Caltrans are banding together for another 1950’s style environmental disaster, […]