Throughout 2008, local politicians and the media seemed to be in a race to see who could say more substance-free attacks on converting HOV Lanes on two Los Angeles freeeways. In particular, politicians of both parties representing the San Gabriel Valley, including Member of Congress, State Senators and County Supervisors on the Metro Board, threw such a fit they managed to get one freeway, the I-210, removed from the proposal.
Along with those nasty off-peak toll lanes, these leaders managed to chase off hundreds of millions of federal dollars for transit improvements that the federal government was offering as a carrot to agencies for a one-year pilot program. If you consider that Metro’s final plan for the pilot project won’t remove any cars from the HOV lanes that are being converted, those “leaders” have to be smarting that they basically gave away a hundred million dollars. Yet, outside of Streetsblog, nobody has seemed to call them on it.
Which is why it is somewhat surprising to see the San Gabriel Valley Tribune publish an editorial that’s basically a lukewarm embrace of Metro’s plans to study converting HOV to variable toll lanes on five more stretches of L.A. County freeways…especially since this time there’s no promise of transit improvements to go with the toll lanes. The editorial recognizes that someone has to pay to maintain our highway system, and it might as well be the people that use it.