Construction on the OC streetcar, connecting Santa Ana and Garden Grove, will continue to see progress in 2022 before the vehicles themselves get delivered to Orange County in late 2022 or early 2023. The vehicles are currently under construction in northern California, and residents could start see them being tested here in 2023, OCTA CEO Darrell Johnson said. (Courtesy of OCTA.)

These vanquished “boondoggles” appear in the “victory” column:

— The death of the proposed extension of the 241 “toll road to nowhere” through San Clemente, which could have cost billions.

— The cancellation of a $6 billion plan to expand the 710 freeway between Long Beach and East Los Angeles, which rattled around for more than 20 years.

— Abandonment of a plan to drill twin tunnels to link I-210 and I-710 — which could have exceeded $5 billion — in an attempt to reduce San Gabriel Valley transportation woes.

— And the demise of the “High Desert Freeway,” an $8 billion, 63-mile project that aimed to connect L.A. County’s Palmdale and Lancaster with San Bernardino County’s Victorville, Apple Valley and Adelanto.

But you can’t win ’em all, even if you’re the rabble-rousing California Public Interest Research Group, intent on steering California away from its automobile addiction: The I-405 Expansion project from the 73 toll road to I-605 is well underway, a $1.9 billion endeavor adding express toll lanes to 16 miles of one of America’s most congested highways.

All these projects have appeared in PIRG’s “Highway Boondoggles: Wasting infrastructure funding on damaging and unnecessary road projects” studies over the years, now in its eighth incarnation. The PIRG activists take some credit for halting what they call wasteful projects, yearn to ensure that the new $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment is not squandered on car-centric projects and lament the 405 expansion they weren’t able to stop.

The 405 expansion “is based on estimates of dramatic traffic increases that are both unrealistic, and that far exceed real use trends,” PIRG says. “Expanding the highway, however, could very well bring many of those who currently avoid the 405 due to congestion back to the highway — generating new traffic that causes congestion to return.”

The Orange County Transportation Authority is unapologetic.

“Orange County voters agreed to tax themselves one-half cent in 1990 and again in 2006, entrusting OCTA to deliver a balanced and sustainable transportation system, and we are delivering on those promises, which have resulted in billions of dollars of local street maintenance and improvement projects, as well as transit programs, freeway improvements, water quality, wildlife and habitat protection initiatives,” said spokesman Joel Zlotnik by email.

“The 405 project — part of the local sales tax measure approved by Orange County voters in 2006 — has a number of recommended elements discussed, including priced managed lanes …read more

Source:: The Mercury News


Transportation ‘boondoggles’ cost billions, study says

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