Those of us who live or work in Santa Monica, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, or the Westside in general, know what a major impact the closure of the Santa Monica Freeway had on our daily lives following the Jan. 17 earthquake. Had this freeway and others been retrofitted for earthquake safety, it is very likely the damage and resulting closure could have been avoided.
Proposition 1A on the upcoming June 7 ballot gives us all a chance to help minimize the risk of this happening again. Proposition 1A will ask voters to approve $2 billion in general-obligation bonds to help victims of the quake and make safety improvements to public buildings and state highways. Nearly half of the money, $950 million, will help make more highway bridges, including toll bridges, earthquake safe.
We need Proposition 1A to protect ourselves from future disasters. With it, we can accelerate and expand the retrofit program without diverting resources from other critical projects. Without it, vital safety work may be further postponed; or the transportation improvements promised by Proposition 111--a voter-approved measure that increased gasoline tax--may be delayed so that seismic safety work can be done.
As both a resident and employer on the Westside, I urge voters to join me in supporting Proposition 1A come June 7. We need to act now to ensure the safety of our highways and lives--tomorrow may be too late!
ROBERT M. SCHWAB
Santa Monica district manager , Automobile Club of Southern California