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Planners unveil $500-billion blueprint for regional transportation

April 4, 2012 |  5:09 pm

Southern California's regional planning agency passed a 25-year transportation investment strategy Wednesday that officials said accounts for millions of future residents and a changing environment.

The plan includes measures to improve goods movement, reduce air pollution and ease pressure on commuters by building new rapid transit bus and high-speed rail lines, improving highways, increasing carpooling and encouraging telecommuting. If all elements were put into place, it would cost about $500 billions, officials said.

“Our agency is responsible for long-term, strategic planning to prepare for population growth in a region that is already the size of the fifth-largest state in the nation," said Pam O'Connor, President of the Southern California Assn. of Governments.

"The business community needs to know that their employees can travel safely to work, and businesses can operate effectively and efficiently to maximize profits and hire new workers," O'Connor continued. "We now look forward to working with our community partners to successfully implement the plan so Southern California remains globally competitive."

Some environmental and health groups on Wednesday cheered the plan, which aims to reduce air pollution and per-capita emissions.

Jane Warner, president and chief executive officer of the American Lung Assn. in California, called it "transformative" and  "a critical step away from continued harmful urban sprawl and toward healthy growth."

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-- Ari Bloomekatz

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