By Tim Whyte
The voters have spoken, and they’ve spoken loud and clear: Improving Los Angeles County’s transportation infrastructure is a major priority, and in approving Measure M on the November ballot, they’ve given our county’s transportation leaders the resources to do just that.
We’ll see those results right here in northern Los Angeles County. One of the highest-profile projects to receive funding from the Measure M half-cent sales tax will be the Interstate 5 North Los Angeles County Capacity Enhancement Project, which has been the primary focus of the Golden State Gateway Coalition since the coalition formed to advocate transportation improvements along the key corridor more than a dozen years ago.
“We’re very pleased that the county’s voters share our belief in the importance of improving the county’s transportation network,” said Tom DiPrima, chairman of the Golden State Gateway Coalition, a collaborative group of citizens, businesses and local government leaders who have worked in concert with Metro and Caltrans to help bring capacity enhancements to the crucial stretch of I-5 in northern Los Angeles County.
DiPrima added that the coalition is also grateful to the Metro board and staff, which have placed the I-5 Gateway project’s second phase near the top of Metro’s transportation priority list, meaning the HOV lanes project is slated to be among the first projects to break ground utilizing Measure M funds.
The HOV phase of the I-5 North L.A. County Capacity Enhancement Project is in the midst of its $30.8 million design contract, and is expected to be ready for construction to begin in 2019, which is when Metro has slated Measure M funds to become available for the project.
The first phase of the two-phase project was completed in 2014, with the debut of new truck lanes north of the I-5/State Route 14 interchange.
Although the Gateway Coalition’s primary focus has been improving the I-5 corridor in north L.A. County, Measure M also brings additional benefits to the region — in particular, funding for the $2.1 billion High Desert Multipurpose Corridor, which will provide a new freeway alternative linking SR14 in Palmdale to SR18 in San Bernardino.
“Measure M means a great deal for the I-5 improvement project, to be sure,” said Victor Lindenheim, executive director of the Gateway Coalition, “but it also means a great deal for the overall transportation picture in the north L.A. County region, and indeed Los Angeles County as a whole. The next few years should prove eventful and exciting as we see these long-awaited projects become reality.”