Lawmaker Fails at Bid for Quick Fix at Interchange

The board of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority inched toward easing clogged traffic at the Ventura-San Diego freeway interchange Thursday, frustrating Assemblyman Wally Knox's attempts at a $10-million quick fix.

Knox, who represents parts of Encino, Sherman Oaks and Studio City, wanted the board to earmark money to build two new lanes. He has also urged Caltrans to prioritize the project, but he said he wanted a backup plan in case the Caltrans funding did not materialize.

"Ten million dollars is a rounding error," Knox, a Los Angeles Democrat running for reelection, told the MTA board. "It's the kind of thing that can be solved by you with a stroke of a pen."

But several board members said there were other crowded interchanges also deserving relief in Los Angeles County.

Los Angeles Councilman Hal Bernson, a board member, had previously introduced a motion to make the 101-405 interchange a top MTA funding priority. But he agreed Thursday that other projects were also important and withdrew his motion.

The board finally agreed upon a watered-down motion proposed by county Supervisors Zev Yaroslavsky and Mike Antonovich. It directed MTA staff to work with Caltrans and the California Transportation Commission to "consider" paying for this project and others out of Caltrans' share of unspent state funds, a pot of about $60 million for Southern California.

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