Sen. Christine Kehoe’s (D-San Diego) legislation requiring improved transit as part of the expansion of Interstate 5 in San Diego County received final approval Sept. 9 in the Legislature and now heads to Gov. Jerry Brown for consideration.
“This legislation helps ensure that those living and working within the North Coast Corridor will have viable and convenient transit options during the 40-year period that freeway improvements are underway,” said Kehoe.
SB 468 requires a minimum of two public hearings on the proposed project’s design and mitigation, and that the recently adopted $2.5 billion regional bike plan is used to better link bicycle and pedestrian trails to transit. SB 468 also requires that transit and highway improvements in the corridor be done concurrently, to limit damage to the six coastal lagoons.
Consistent with the bill, Caltrans and the Federal Highway Administration recently announced that the preferred plan for expanding I-5 between La Jolla Village Drive and Camp Pendleton would add four managed lanes to the existing eight lanes. One alternative considered by Caltrans called for adding six more lanes, which would have required taking up to 420 homes. Kehoe has long advocated that the I-5 expansion be limited to the existing right-of-way.
Under SB 468, the new lanes would accommodate carpools, buses and specially designated clean air vehicles. It also allows the collection of tolls, similar to the system used on I-15, with the estimated $1 million to $3 million generated annually to be used only for transit improvements within the corridor.
The 27-mile, $3.5 billion project is funded by federal, state, and local TransNet funds, San Diego County’s voter-approved ½-cent sales tax dedicated to transportation. To learn more about the project, which is planned to begin in 2013, visit www.keepsandiegomoving.com.
— Submitted release