Each day thousands of commuters hop into their cars, pull out of their driveways, and motor down the San Fernando Valley's roads and highways only to find that they are stuck in a perpetual parking lot. Traffic is no longer confined to the morning or evening peak hours; it has become a round-the-clock phenomenon.
According to the San Fernando Valley Census Report, which was prepared at my request, Valley residents spend on average nearly a half-hour commuting to work. Valley residents' commutes are 6 percent longer than those of the average Californian and 11 percent longer than the average Americans'.
The San Fernando Valley is also home to one of the nation's worst traffic bottlenecks, the 101/405 interchange. This is one distinction the Valley could live without. I am committed to supporting practical solutions to ease traffic congestion and to ensuring that the San Fernando Valley receives its fair share of federal dollars.
For example, I strongly support Mayor Villaraigosa's 30/10 Initiative to use Measure R sales tax revenue as collateral for long-term bonds and federal loans to build 12 key mass transit projects in 10 years, rather than 30. Valley projects that would benefit from the initiative within the decade include the Metro Orange Line Extension to Chatsworth, a transit system through the Sepulveda Pass that connects the Metro Orange Line to the subway extension on the Westside, and Metro Rapid Bus north-south corridor improvements.
Over the years, I have secured millions in federal funding to improve mobility in the San Fernando Valley. The funds have gone toward numerous highway and transit projects including federal funding to improve the 101/405 interchange, construct a carpool lane on the northbound 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass and a carpool lane in both directions on the 5 Freeway in the San Fernando Valley, the Metro Orange Line, the Warner Center Transit Hub, as well as major intersection improvements, street resurfacing, street lighting, and construction of transit facilities at local colleges and universities. These projects represent an array of solutions that will help ease our daily commute and offer transit alternatives for commuters.
As the people of the San Fernando Valley struggle to rebound from the great recession, they are undoubtedly concerned about mortgage payments, grocery bills, medical expenses and student debt. Transportation infrastructure may or may not be top on their list. However, as your federal representative, I am acutely aware that keeping the economy moving also requires us to keep the people who work in our community moving from place to place. Together, we can get things going again for Valley residents, even as we contend with some of the worst traffic in the region and in the nation.