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Los Angeles City Council: State should pay Carmageddon costs

July 27, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Traffic may have been light during Carmageddon, but the burden on the L.A. city budget was heavy.

The Los Angeles City Council wants the state to pick up the costs.

It's been 10 days since the Interstate 405 reopened. Work continues on the Mulholland Drive bridge that was the big reason for the project.

Getting local residents warned about the project and preparing for any kind of problems that may pop up, that was a city responsibility, and an expensive one at that. Various departments are still tallying up their costs and looking to Sacramento now to pony up.

It was supposed to be the traffic event to end all traffic events. "Carmageddon," it was dubbed, and the city of L.A. wanted to be prepared, so the L.A. Police Department brought in extra officers for that weekend. The fire department had extra firefighters and other departments ran up Carmageddon-related bills as well.

"It's in the millions. It's going to be a lot of money," said L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander.

Englander doesn't think Los Angeles taxpayers should have to pay for all that. The 405 expansion is a state project, Englander says, and he expects the state to pick up the bill.

"All of these costs were not anticipated and were not budgeted in this year's city budget," said Englander. "So all these departments spent all these resources and personnel costs for Carmageddon. We just want to make sure we get all that money back."

At Wednesday's city council meeting, Englander floated a motion requiring city departments to add up all their Carmageddon-related expenses so they could be submitted to the state.

"We anticipate 100 percent of our costs will be covered," said a city accounting office representative.

The motion passed unanimously. But will the move pay off?

"With the deficit the state has, I very seriously doubt if they'll pay that," said L.A. resident Kimberly Agbonkpolor.

Not only do people on the street think the state won't be able to pay for the costs, some think it's something L.A. should be mostly responsible for anyway.

"I think it should be shared, but I think the city should pay the brunt of the burden since it is primarily their citizens that are going to be benefitting from it. It should come out of their citizens' pockets," said L.A. resident Jeremy Cote.

Caltrans and Metro representatives say the city costs have all been factored into the budget of the project.

The city's accounting office expects to have a grand total within a month and then they should get reimbursed before the end of the year.

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