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Talk Heating Up Again in O.C. Over Toll Lanes on 405

COSTA MESA, Calif. (KTLA) — A renewed plan to expand the 405 Freeway with toll lanes in parts of northern Orange County was under fire from some city leaders on Thursday.

carpool-lanesThe Orange County Transportation Authority has approved a project to widen the 405 from Costa Mesa north to the Los Angeles County line.

City leaders in west Orange County thought they had defeated the toll lanes proposal last October.

But recently, 10 new members joined the OCTA board, and they voted to revisit the issue, in part becasue of the potential of losing federal dollars.

“To put the toll lanes back on the table after we sent a pretty strong message back in October is unacceptable,” Los Alamitos City Councilman Troy Edgar said.

The federal transportation bill passed a year ago says that if low-emissions vehicles are allowed in carpool lanes, those lanes have to be evaluated, Joel Zlotnik, of the OCTA, said.

“If they’re not performing up to par, you have to look at ways to remedy that,” Zlotnik explained. “One of the remedies is using hot lanes.”

However, that has not swayed many of those who opposed adding toll lanes last year.

They said they still see it as double billing the taxpayers and drivers on the 405.

“We’ve paid for those freeways through Measure M money, and we really don’t think we need to be paying for them again with the toll,” Edgar said.

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