California Commission Approves Freeway Expansion

The state Transportation Commission ultimately voted to move a controversial Inland Empire interstate project forward.

1 minute read

February 6, 2024, 12:00 PM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

Freeway on-ramp sign for Interstate 15 in California.

trekandphoto / Adobe Stock

The California Transportation Commission approved a controversial freeway widening project, throwing into question 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 hope that the agency was rethinking its habit of approving projects with little question. “But most of the Commissioners made it clear they had no interest in revisiting the project, which would add ‘auxiliary lanes’ and express lanes on the I-15 in the Inland Empire, in an area where the number of warehouses has been expanding quickly, close to residential areas that have already seen a steady increase in truck traffic 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 this far along in the process. But that leaves the question: when is the right time to raise the concerns of residents and others worried about the climate and clean air?”

Friday, February 2, 2024 in Streetsblog California

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