Thursday, May 26, 2011
SAN DIEGO A bill in the California State Senate that would add four carpool lanes to Interstate 5 between La Jolla and Oceanside will go to the Senate floor for a vote. State Senator Chris Kehoe is the author of SB 468, which was approved today by the Senate appropriations committee.
The bill began as an effort to delay the expansion of I-5 until all transit projects in the freeway corridor were complete. Chief among those projects is a plan to improve service on the Coaster rail line by double-tracking it. But the “transit-first” aspect of the bill was dropped, due to stiff political opposition.
The most important aspect of SB 468 is that it limits I-5 expansion to only four additional lanes. The leaders of San Diego’s planning agency SANDAG were considering adding six lanes to the freeway, which would have required condemnation of hundreds of properties.
The possibility of adding six lanes was very controversial among San Diego’s North County residents. The plan also ran contrary to the voter initiative that created the current “transnet” tax, which provides most of the funding for freeway expansion.
Kehoe’s bill includes environmental protections to reduce the impact of construction on coastal lagoons. If the Senate passes the bill it must then be approved by the Assembly before the governor can sign it.