By Bradley Zint, November 1, 2013
Residents and city leaders are pushing back against a plan under
consideration to add toll lanes to a 14-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway
in Orange County, a $1.47-billion proposal that would involve
reconstructing overpasses and other improvements.
The plan to add toll
routes to the freeway — dismissed as “Lexus lanes” by one city mayor —
is one of three proposed alternatives for helping untangle the highway
congestion from Costa Mesa to the county line in Seal Beach.
The most controversial of the alternatives would add a single
general-purpose lane and a toll lane in each direction. The existing
carpool lanes on each side of the highway would also be converted to
The other alternatives would add general purpose lanes, but no pay-to-drive lanes.
At a public meeting in Westminster this week, more than 150 people
voiced their opposition to any toll roads within the 14-mile stretch.
"I think it's pretty clear to the community what's at stake here,"
said Costa Mesa Mayor Jim Righeimer. "What's at stake is the future of
Orange County with regards to how we move in this county."
Righeimer called the toll roads "Lexus lanes" and said if they're
added to the 405, they would pave the way for more toll roads in Orange
County, such as on the 5 Freeway.
Orange County was an early pioneer in the toll lane experiment when
carpools lanes along a 10-mile portion of the 91 Freeway were converted
to pay-to-use lanes. Toll lanes were recently added to the 110 Freeway
in Los Angeles, and Orange County has an extensive network of toll
Huntington Beach Mayor Connie Boardman said Orange County residents
were already paying taxes for their roads via gasoline purchases and
Measure M, a voter-approved, half-cent sales tax for transportation
"This would be a tax on a tax on a tax," she said.
Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident, called
the alternative "a whole new definition to the term highway robbery."
Past improvements to other county freeways didn't require tolls, Moorlach noted.
"This is being done to us," he said. "It's not being done with us."
Seal Beach Mayor Gary A. Miller said residents in Garden Grove,
Huntington Beach and Westminster aren't likely to pay just to cross into
Los Angeles County. They would take surface streets instead, he said.
"Our local streets are going to be very congested if this option is passed," Miller said.
Tolls could peak at $9.91 for northbound trips and $6.11 for
southbound trips, according to Orange County Transportation Authority
The OCTA is scheduled to discuss the 405 plans on Nov. 8 at its headquarters in Orange.
Metro Doesn't Seem Pleased With the Above Article
By Steve Hymon, November 1, 2013
Plan to add toll lanes to 405 in O.C. dismissed as ‘Lexus lanes,’ draw heat (L.A. Times)
Among several alternatives being studied to improve traffic on the
405 in Orange County: 14 miles of congestion pricing toll lanes. The
Times manages to find city officials unhappy with that alternative,
griping that it will dump traffic on city streets or be an unfair tax.
In other words, the Times wrote the story for the lowest common
denominator. No advocates of the congestion pricing alternative are
quoted nor is there an explanation of the theory of congestion pricing
and what some say about whether or not it works.