Six Feisty West-county Mayors tell Supes: NO 405 TOLL LANES!


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I love it – the Mayors of pretty much all the towns directly affected by the threatened 405 Toll Lanes – Los Alamitos’ Troy Edgar, Huntington Beach’s (pro-tem) Devin Dwyer, Westminster’s adorable Margie Rice, Seal Beach’s Michael Levitt, Costa Mesa’s Eric Bever, and Fountain Valley’s John Collins – have penned the following letter to the Board of Supervisors expressing their opposition to “Alternative 3″ Toll Lanes on the 405, and support for the “Alternative 2″ of two new FREE lanes.

Two details stand out – For one, it’s good to see Los Alamitos Mayor Troy Edgar – who is also running for Assembly – joining the side of goodness and light.  We weren’t sure where he or his city stood.  And we’d been trying (fruitlessly) to contact his Assembly opponent, the slightly unhinged Travis Allen, assuming (wrongly) that Troy Edgar would join his great supporter Don Hansen in the Toll Troll Brigade.  Always glad to be wrong about something bad!  This should help his Assembly race, although it doesn’t seem like Travis is putting up much of a fight – time will tell if that’s because he’s been promised something in return for minimizing Republican intraparty bloodletting.

And then it’s so nice to see the dapper HB Mayor Pro-tem Devin Dwyer step in as the real Mayor of Surf City, since the Mayor in Name, Don Hansen, has disappeared into some sort of Randian Toll Lane Utopia.  Devin has reason, the law, popular opinion, and the majority of his fellow councilmen on his side as he pulls this mini-coup against Board Member Don Hansen who HAD been giving him lots of partisan pressure before Gus and I talked sense into him.  This will also be good for Devin’s re-election.

This letter is addressed to Bill Campbell, as he is the chairman of the Board of Supervisors.  We know that some of the Supervisors are on our side;  Campbell we haven’t approached yet, and it’s always good to be pessimistic with him, as his record of good decisions over this eight-year tenure has been approximately … no, I won’t say it.  He might do the right thing here.  Because as the tireless Diana Lee Carey concludes in her new article for the Register (which they’ll probably never publish)

“the Renewed Measure M Transportation Investment Plan states, on page 13,  ‘The improvements will adhere to the recommendations of the Interstate 405 Major Investment Study and will be developed in cooperation with local jurisdictions and affected communities.’ Please, support local Cities and let your Supervisor know that following the law is important. “

July 31, 2012

Mr. Bill Campbell, Board Member
Orange County Transportation Authority
P.O. Box 14184
Orange, CA 92863-1584

Subject: I-405 Improvement Project

Dear Honorable Board Member:

The I-405 Corridor Cities of Costa Mesa, Westminster, Seal Beach, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, and Los Alamitos (Cities) collectively appreciate Orange County Transportation Authority’s (OCTA) efforts in coordinating transportation improvements throughout Orange County and implementing transportation solutions that are vital to the long-term needs of residents and visitors to the Orange County area.

The Cities have carefully considered the alternatives for the I-405 Freeway expansion in the Draft Environmental Impact Report/Environmental Impact Statement (EIR/EIS), and are unified in our opposition to Alternative 3 with Express Lanes. The Mayors of the Cities do, however; support Alternative 2 as our “locally preferred alternative,” provided certain conditions are included to address the concerns of each City as outlined in Attachment 1. Alternative 2 provides the greatest travel time savings and vehicle capacity in the general purpose lanes and does not convert existing lanes to toll lanes nor require the paying of tolls.

The following are the bases for this determination:

  • The Renewed Measure M program approved by the voters of Orange County did not include the Express Lanes solution for the I-405 Freeway and did not authorize the use for M2 funds to facilitate the implementation of Express Lanes;
  • Alternative 3 results in the loss of the “free” High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lane that is replaced by “toll” Express Lanes;
  • Alternative 3 burdens a large segment of the population to obtain transponders and pay to use the tax-payer funded improvements;
  • The number of lanes that are available “free” for the public for most of the stretch of the freeway for Alternative 3 remains the same as currently exists, at five lanes total, whereas Alternative 2 proposes seven (Free) lanes;
  • Alternative 2, at a cost of approximately $300 million less than Alternative 3, provides a better value for the money in terms of benefits to the communities and commuters;
  • Alternative 2 has less right-of-way impact than Alternative 3; and
  • Alternative 2 represents a better utilization of land and money resources.

The Mayors of the Cities jointly request OCTA to champion the cause of the local cities by finding that Alternative 2 is the only “locally preferred alternative” for the I-405 Improvement Project.

Sincerely,

Eric R. Bever, Mayor, Costa Mesa
John Collins, Mayor, Fountain Valley
Devin Dwyer, Mayor, Los Alamitos
Troy D. Edgar, Mayor Pro Tem, Huntington Beach
Michael Levitt, Mayor, Seal Beach
Margie L. Rice, Mayor, Westminster

[Attachment 1 – Suggested Revisions to Alternative 2]

cc:
Senator Tom Harman
Assembly Member Allan R. Mansoor
Assembly Member Jim Silva
Costa Mesa City Council
Fountain Valley City Council
Huntington Beach City Council
Los Alamitos City Council
Seal Beach City Council
Westminster City Council
James Pinheiro, Caltrans, Deputy District Director
Staff


About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist in Orange County. Performs regularly with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem, and at regular concerts at the Huntington Beach Central Library.