February 13, 2007 2:00 PM, EST

California May Build More Toll Roads, Paper Reports

Plans Receive Early Backing from Governor, State Legislature
Click here to write a Letter to the Editor.
California state lawmakers are planning toll-road projects that could be a future trend in the state, and some of the first projects will be targeted to roads that move goods from the state’s ports, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.Transportation agencies are planning several projects on busy urban corridors, and some of the world’s largest investment firms are lining up with proposals that could leave them in control of some major new roads, the paper reported in a front-page story.The state legislature has not yet decided what roads would be built under any tolling arrangements, but has stipulated that they must serve the movement of goods, the Times said.The California Department of Transportation suggested a toll road for trucks that would go from the Port of Long Beach inland, and a toll road for cars and trucks at the Mexican border near San Diego that would have its own border crossing, the paper reported.Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has been pushing for the state to start shifting costs and control of road building to the private sector, the paper said. State lawmakers last May authorized government agencies to build four demonstration projects in partnership with investment banks, shipping companies and other businesses.Voters last November approved billions in borrowing for roads, but that money will not meet all of the state’s transportation needs, and a gasoline tax would not be popular in the state, the Times said.