The Reason Foundation wants to help improve traffic congestion in Los Angeles and Wednesday announced a plan toward that effort.
The Los Angeles think tank formally presented its “Southern California Mobility Plan” at a luncheon Wednesday at the City Club in downtown Los Angeles that was attended by more than 75 people.
The $714 billion plan calls for tolls on local highways and expressways, improving bus rapid transit and express bus services, creating new overpasses and underpasses at congested interchanges, converting carpool lanes to toll lanes and synchronizing traffic lights.
It also includes six projects that would build tunnels in areas, including north from Glendale to south of Palmdale as well as from the 710 freeway north to the 210 freeway in Pasadena.
Baruch Feigenbaum, who authored the Reason Foundation's plan, described tunnels as the “most important missing link in the expressway system.”
“It’s going to remove cars and trucks from local roads,” Feigenbaum said. “Tunnels are safer than expressways especially if the big one comes.”
No tax increase would be needed to implement the Reason Foundation’s plan, according to Feigenbaum.
While some expressed concerns about the timeframe of the project, there was agreement that relieving traffic congestion can pay off in a big way for the local economy. L.A. motorists spend 80 hours a year stuck in traffic, according to Reason.
“Improving mobility has a direct connection to increased productivity,” Reason Foundation’s Director of Transportation Policy Bob Poole said.
The former Transportation Secretary, Mary Peters, echoed the sentiment.
“These delays affect the local and regional economy as well,” Peters said. “Two weeks of productivity is lost every year.”
Peters said such a plan is the right thing for Southern California and that “seeing the recommendations today is really like a dream come true.”
The complete report is available at Reason.org.