Proposed Upgrade to Metro's Orange Line Could be Sidetracked by Prop 6

posted by Andrew Mollenbeck - @amollenbeckKFI - 

VAN NUYS -- An upgrade to the Metro Orange Line could be sidetracked by Proposition 6, officials and city leaders said Friday.

About $75 million for aerial bridges and new crossing gates is set to come from the state's increased gas tax and vehicle registration fees.

Those funds have not yet been allocated, and officials say a repeal of the gas tax next month may set back the work.

The majority of the funding -- nearly $400 million -- is due to come from Measure M, the voter-approved sales tax increase in L.A. County.

"These improvements will add grade separations at two locations, Sepulveda [Blvd.] and Van Nuys [Blvd.]," says Hitesh Patel, the project manager.

The bridges over two major boulevards will cut travel times by about 20 percent, he says.

Metro says it also plans to install crossing gates at up to 35 intersections between North Hollywood and Chatsworth.

A planned light rail line between Van Nuys and Sylmar relies far more on money from the state's gas tax increase.

Mayor Eric Garcetti said this summer than more than $400 million for that project would come from SB-1.

Officials in support of SB-1 have called news conferences with increasing frequency leading up to the election, as they tout projects made possible through the transportation funding program.

Garcetti joined Caltrans earlier this week for an announcement that more than $60 million from the gas tax would go toward restriping lanes on five freeways in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

Proposition 6 would eliminate a 12-cent-per-gallon tax increase and higher vehicle registration fees that kicked in at the beginning of the year.

Photo: Andrew Mollenbeck

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