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Cartoon Tuesday

Metro Announces It Will No Longer Widen Freeways, Doubles Down on Freeway “Modernization”

1:46 PM PDT on April 1, 2022

How road widening works. Cartoon via @BrentToderian Twitter

At an early press conference this morning, April 1 (wink), Metro leaders announced that the agency will no longer be spending hundreds of millions of dollars every year to widen highways throughout L.A. County.

Metro boardmember Otto Luvstewdriev proclaimed, "We’re not approving freeway expansions, if you will, and, as I read this, it’s freeway modernization." (Really.)

Indeed, Metro appears to be increasing its Freeway Modernization budget, but in a more opaque way, by splitting it out into several new budget categories: Freeway Gap Closures, New Freeways, Partially Complete Streets, and Climate Catastrophe Catalyst Corridors.

"Freeway Gap Closures are not really widening of the freeway. It is actually closing the gap, making the freeway longer not wider," stated Metro Chief Budget Apologist Kars Phoruannu, "just ask the families Metro and Caltrans recently super-politely relocated out of their homes to gap-close the 71 Freeway in Pomona." Phoruannu also pointed out that "brand new freeways are not really freeway widening, either." Phoruannu emphasized that Metro is merely "address[ing] the current validated congestion and deficiencies."

Metro's Department of Freeway Modernization recently floated a plan to re-number several L.A. freeways, so adding more and more lanes to them would not be considered widening an existing freeway.

Caltrans Chief Credibility Controller Karl B. Formie expressed excitement about his agency collaborating on Metro's new Partially Complete Streets projects. Formie gushed, "we've perfected the process of saying that we're widening for future complete streets amenities - like, say, for bike lanes - and then not actually including them in projects. Oh - was I not supposed to say widening. Oops, I said it again."

To pay for all the freeway-not-really-actually-widening-but-modernization, Metro plans to reduce its transit projects budget by nine percent. (Really.)

Metro Chief Freeway Modernization Officer Bill Ditwider noted that there was no need to eliminate any of the projects in Metro's current "Less Traffic" category. Ditwider called Metro's freeway re-languaging initiative "a regional and state model for truly equitable outcomes." Ditwider, in an oddly-detailed statement noted that "Equitable opportunities will be incorporated into all future decision-making, budget allocation, and community engagement." He continued: "Additional program elements proposed by stakeholders will be considered and may be advanced in support of equitable outcomes. Transparent communication with the stakeholders will help build consensus and trust moving forward and hopefully strengthen the communities’ support for the needed improvements." (Really.)

Luvstewdriev ended this morning's presser saying that the new widening-but-not-calling-it-widening-thing is really just Metro making good on what the voters were promised in Metro's Measure M sales tax plan. "The word 'widening' doesn't appear in the Measure M ordinance," he correctly noted "nor does 'freeway expansion' or 'highway expansion'." "Metro promised voters 'corridor improvements,' 'multi-purpose corridors,' 'interchange improvements,' and 'highway efficiency' so by golly that's what we're calling what we're doing.”

This is an April Fool's Day satire. The real news today is that Antarctic temperatures are spiking ~70 degrees Fahrenheit above normal, as Democrat leaders pander to drivers over gas price increases due partially to an oil war, while Metro plans to increase its freeway project budget and decrease its transit project budget. Really.

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