San Gabriel Valley Pols Seek Compromise on I-210 Congestion Plan

The 210’s Loss Is the 110’s Gain

The Bottleneck Blog has news of some back room dealings which could shift Metro’s congestion pricing plan from the I-210 in the San Gabriel Valley to the I-110 south of Los Angeles.  San Gabriel Valley politicians have long complained that not enough funds are spent on their region, and thanks to some political maneuvering may prove successful in ensuring they will be able to keep complaining for years while commuters on the I-110 experience faster commutes.

State and congressional elected leaders from the San Gabriel Valley have threatened to block either or both Metro’s congestion pricing plan and Metro’s plan to place a half cent sales tax increase dedicated to transit from the fall ballot unless they get their way on congestion pricing and a proposed Gold Line extension. 

The political compromise would ensure that around half of the $213 million in federal funds that would go to purchase new, larger buses will go to improve the transit options on the I-110 but will save SGV residents that commute in “carpools” of two people from having to pay a variable toll for a quicker ride.  Just something to remember next time Senator Romero or other elected leaders from San Gabriel complain that Metro shortchanges them at budget time.

The Bottleneck Blog reports:

Villaraigosa met with legislators from the San Gabriel Valley late last month and proposed the exchange, said Walter Hughes, chief of staff to Assemblyman Ed Hernandez. Hughes said that he thought the move was motivated by two concerns — the 10 and 210 plan didn’t have the support of the State Legislature and the mayor was trying to win support for a half-cent sales tax for mass transit funding he wants to place on the November ballot.

"San Gabriel Valley caucus members had concerns and so they [the mayor’s office] figured to alleviate those concerns they would look to move those toll roads to a different stretch of freeway," Hughes said.

The mayor’s press office on Monday afternoon declined comment on the 110 proposal. Another source in the state legislature who had direct knowledge of the meeting with the mayor confirmed the exchange. The swap, I’m hearing, was suggested to the mayor by San Gabriel Valley interests — again, something his office would not comment on.

Bottom line: if congestion pricing happens in Los Angeles County, it will be on the 10 freeway from downtown to El Monte and the 110 freeway from just south of downtown to the Artesia transit center at 182nd Street.

There is no indication that there is any plan to move the congestion pricing plan for the I-10 freeway to another roadway.

Photo: Reto Kurmann/Flickr 

  • Wad

    I wrote about this in an earlier Gloria Romero post.

    If there’s any clue that politicians are just punching the clock on transportation, this was the case.

    It’s really funny that Metro has to buy high-capacity buses for the Harbor Freeway. To let you in on the punchline: The Harbor Transitway has the usage where you can fit every bus passenger and the driver into a roadster.

  • Wait, I’m confused (really) when will the Gold Line be extended into the San Gabriel Valley into Monrovia? A lot of transit geeks have been saying bad things about this proposal – but having biked alongside the Metrolink right of way this past week, I think some of their criticism is unfair.

    Would this back room compromise ensure that the Gold Line gets extended?

  • Wad

    Brayj, the answer is let’s wait and see.

    I see compelling arguments for and against getting the Gold Line extended. It can really go either way.

    This is an interesting case, because Metro’s bureaucrats have serious misgivings about the Gold Line extension. By the numbers, it is saying that the Gold Line will have a really low boarding density that will bring down the systemwide average. Even the Pasadena route that exists now — the meat and potatoes of the line — has badly underperformed.

    The big worry is if Metro has to put in an application to the Federal Transit Administration and it comes back stamped with a “not recommended.”

  • As I understand it, the Gold Line extension is on the “unfunded” list of Metro’s draft LRTP. If the half cent sales tax proposal is placed on the ballot and passes, it gets funded. If it doesn’t, then there will be a food fight at the November Metro Board meeting.

    That’s why I find the posturing of the SGV folks so confusing. Just get behind the sales tax proposal and they’ll get what they want. If they continue to be obstructionist then I doubt the Metro Board is going to move their proposal up the list.


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