The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) board voted today to add a new lane in each direction of the 405 freeway from the 605 freeway to Euclid Street in Fountain Valley–but they would be free and not toll lanes. Lexus lanes had previously been proposed (to a chorus of boos) from the Los Angeles County line in Seal Beach to the 73 in Costa Mesa, which eventually changes from the Corona del Mar Freeway to the San Joaquin Hills toll road.
But the board meeting in Orange voted 12-4 to go not with toll lanes but with the freeway option, which would be paid for with $1.3 billion from the Measure M half-cent sales tax.
The timeline has an environmental impact report being completed by the end of next summer, construction beginning in 2015 and work done by 2020, OCTA spokesman Ted Nguyen tells City News Service.
The federal government threatened to withhold highway funds if something is not done to relieve congestion along that stretch of the 405, which is the busiest in the country.
Caltrans officials advocated toll lanes, arguing existing car-pool lanes move too slowly. Also opposing free lanes today were OCTA board members Todd Spitzer, Matt Harper, John Moorlach and Gary Miller.