Los Angeles grabs up congestion grant that New York passed up

| 4/29/2008

U.S. DOT officials say Los Angeles will receive a $213 million federal grant to purchase buses while freeing up city funds to convert high-occupancy vehicle lanes into high-occupancy toll lanes. A DOT spokeswoman confirmed that the money will come from a proposed $354-million grant that state lawmakers in New York left on the table, which was designed to implement congestion pricing in New York City.

“New York didn’t get the legislation they needed to secure that money,” U.S. Department of Transportation Spokeswoman Melissa DeLaney told Land Line.

DeLaney said the DOT will soon announce where more of the money will go that was originally promised to New York.

Los Angeles will spend its $213 million on busing, which frees up city money for the conversion of  85 miles of HOV lanes into HOT lanes by the end of 2010, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters announced Friday, April 25.

The roadways are already equipped with electronic tolling technology that allows drivers to access less-congested lanes for a premium. Toll rates will vary based on traffic and peak times while the revenue collected will be put into mass transit, Peters stated in a press release.

New York state lawmakers chose not to vote on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s proposal for congestion pricing ahead of a U.S. DOT-imposed deadline of April 7.

The DOT has given California state lawmakers a deadline of Oct. 15 to enact legislation to implement the $213 million proposal for Los Angeles.

– By David Tanner, staff writer