Private toll road bill to get another hearing

| Thursday, July 03, 2003

A bill that would allow private companies to build a toll road in the Los Angeles area has failed in committee, but the bills proponents have already secured a second chance for the measure.

SB138, introduced by state Sen. W.J. Knight, R-Palmdale, specifically calls for a highway to relieve traffic problems along state Highway 138.

The original text of the bill called for the new road to run between Palmdale and Victorville in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties. The amended version that will be considered now extends that to include the entire State Highway 138 corridor running through the Antelope Valley and the Victor Valley in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties

Under the bill, the company building the road could collect tolls to recover its costs, and would lease the road from the state for up to 35 years. However, California would retain ownership of the road.

An amendment added to the bill March 25 would prohibit the department from closing Route 138 upon completion of the toll road and would also require the Legislature’s approval of any agreement to build the toll road.

Notes attached to the bill indicated that accidents and fatalities on the highway have increased in recent years, spurring the call for the toll road proposal.

The bill passed the Senate April 10 by a vote of 28-5. A hearing is set before the Assembly Transportation Committee July 7.

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