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Think Tank: We Can End L.A. Traffic–Without Taxes

On Tuesday, the Reason Foundation published a study outlining a $700 billion plan to fix the notorious L.A. traffic gridlock.

The study’s plan, called the “Mobility Plan,” won’t cost taxpayers a cent, according to its author, Baruch Feigenbaum, who told ABC 7, “No new taxes. This can be paid for with existing revenue plus tolling.”

The “Mobility Plan” points out how difficult and expensive traffic congestion has become:

The cost of congestion—as measured in wasted time and fuel—is estimated at $13.3 billion per year, or $1,711 per commuter annually. Average annual hours of delay per traveler have increased from 52 in 1985 to 80 in 2014. The travel time index (the ratio of travel time during peak periods to the same trip off-peak) increased from 1.31 to 1.43 during the same period.

The author suggests that the Southern California Association of Governments’ (SCAG) Long Range Transportation plan would be less feasible, stating, “Adjusted for inflation, our plan requires $352 billion in taxpayer resources while SCAG’s plan needs $606 billion. As a result our plan can be constructed with current resources; no tax increase is needed. SCAG’s plan needs to find an additional $254 billion over 25 years.”

The plan suggests more express lanes, tolled expressways, larger bus corridors, and toll lanes for trucks–but the chief objective is to build six more tunnels, at a cost of $97.2 billion.

Three examples: extending the 710 freeway by building a tunnel, constructing a tunnel downtown, and building one more across the valley. Feigenbaum said, “It really is a combination of using tolling to offer people a choice to improve mobility, putting in a few tunnels around Los Angeles.”

Feigenbaum stated, “We tried to make it as realistic as possible. We had some other projects. We had a seventh tunnel in there. I looked at it and I said that this one is definitely not realistic. So, only six tunnels.”

According to ABC 7, Los Angeles drivers spent roughly 623 million hours sitting in traffic last year.

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