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Federal money en route for SoCal roadways

March 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Federal stimulus dollars will soon be flowing to California, and the results will be visible to many motorists.The largest chunk of that cash will be spent on the 710 Freeway. The state will spend $75 million to repave three miles of the 710, from Firestone to Slauson. The state says it's a project that's long overdue. Others say it's wildly overpriced.

One of the nation's busiest freeways is getting some serious stimulus dollars. Caltrans plans to spend $75 million updating three miles of the 710. That works out to be about $4,700 per foot.

"It's not a lot of road, but it's a lot of work being done," said Deborah Harris, Caltrans.

Harris is a spokeswoman for Caltrans. She says the improvements are badly needed.

"We are repaving it," said Harris. "We're replacing the concrete median. We're adding fiber-optic lines for the large changeable message signs."

Still, others aren't so sure.

"It's not worth it," said motorist Jovita Orozco. "I don't think it's worth it."

Jovita Orozco says $75 million for three miles of improvements is not a wise use of public money.

"The road is going to keep being bad because it's a main road for the big trucks," said Oraozco. "I'm in the transportation business and it's going to go bad either way."

Caltrans, and others, say it's also about the jobs.

"It is outrageous when you think of the numbers, but at the same time it could be some job opportunities," said motorist Oscar Sarmientos.

Millions more will go to other state roads. In Orange County, State Road 39 will get $9.3 million; State Road 73, $7.7 million. In Riverside, SR 243 will get $1.8 million, while in San Bernardino County, SR 395 will get $2.2 million. In Ventura County, SR 34 will get $1.6 million.

"Most of Los Angeles infrastructure, highway infrastructure, is aging," said Harris. "It's over 50 years old. So this is really a shot in the arm to those two routes."

Caltrans will also repave 11 miles of the I-5 in Burbank at a cost of $42 million. Caltrans says this will generate about 2,000 jobs and they say they can get started in about 60 days.


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