California Commission Approves Freeway Expansion

The Cal­i­for­nia Trans­porta­tion Com­mis­sion approved a con­tro­ver­sial free­way widen­ing project, throw­ing into the state’s pur­port­ed com­mit­ment to its cli­mate goals.

As Melanie Cur­ry explains in Streets­blog Cal­i­for­nia, the CTC delayed its deci­sion on the Inter­state 15 project in Decem­ber, briefly giv­ing oppo­nents of free­way widen­ing that the agency was rethink­ing its habit of approv­ing projects with lit­tle ques­tion. “But most of the Com­mis­sion­ers made it clear they had no in revis­it­ing the project, would add ‘aux­il­iary lanes’ and express lanes on the I‑15 in the , in an area where the num­ber of ware­hous­es has been expand­ing quick­ly, to res­i­den­tial areas that have already seen a steady increase in truck in the last few years.”

The pro­jec­t’s oppo­nents say the expan­sion would con­tribute to wors­ened air qual­i­ty, harm­ing adja­cent com­mu­ni­ties and caus­ing more con­ges­tion and emis­sions. But dur­ing a con­tentious meet­ing, com­mis­sion­ers large­ly dis­missed the con­cerns.

“In the end,” Cur­ry writes, “the Com­mis­sion quick­ly vot­ed to approve the project, basi­cal­ly say­ing they had no choice but to approve some­thing that had got­ten far along in the process. But that leaves the ques­tion: when is the right to raise the con­cerns of res­i­dents and oth­ers wor­ried about the cli­mate and clean air?”

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