“We think it’s a good compromise and it will work for us,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina, who was part of a delegation of more than two dozen lawmakers at the CTC meeting in Irvine to lobby for the San Gabriel Valley. “We did not come to take away from anyone else, we just came for our fair share.” The commission’s decision still left out $97.3million for the extension of a carpool lane on the 10Freeway through Baldwin Park. The money had been included in an earlier list of recommended projects but was later taken out as commission staff boosted funding for projects in western Los Angeles and Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Baldwin Park Councilwoman Marlen Garcia, a longtime booster the 10/605 upgrade, said she was encouraged by the commission’s decision despite the loss of the carpool lane funding. The San Gabriel Valley, she said, “is the stepchild that has been ignored and become an orphan. But now there is at least light at the end of the tunnel.” Assemblyman Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, said he received confirmation late Tuesday that the state would find funds for the 10/605 interchange from CTC Executive Director John Barna. IRVINE – The San Gabriel Valley may get the money to upgrade a congested freeway interchange after all, even though the area was shut out of a statewide plan to spend billions in voter-approved transportation bonds. The California Transportation Commission voted Wednesday not to give the San Gabriel Valley a single dollar from the $4.5 billion in freeway improvement funds made available when Proposition 1B passed last November. But the commission made up for the slight by earmarking $70 million from a different pot to pay for upgrades to the San Bernardino (10) and San Gabriel River (605) freeway intersection. The compromise was reached following weeks of furious lobbying by local legislators – efforts that initially not only failed to secure the funding, but were met by further cuts to Valley transportation projects. “This is by no means the ideal solution, but at least we have a seat at the table again,” said Hernandez, who participated in a last-minute conference call Tuesday with Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials, state Sen. Gloria Romero, D-Los Angeles, and Assemblyman Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar, to talk about funding for the San Gabriel Valley. The next step is to make sure the MTA allocates the funds to the first phases of the 10/605 interchange project even before it gets the money from the state, said Baldwin Park Councilman David Olivas. “We need to make sure MTA begins immediately with the \,” said Olivas. “The MTA has discretionary funds to start this, which can be backfilled with the \ funds.” Molina, chairwoman of the MTA board, said the agency should be able to advance the funds. Hernandez staffers said the money for the interchange won’t be available until the Legislature finalizes the state budget – hypothetically by June30. If the MTA gets the ball rolling with its own discretionary funds, an EIR could be commissioned as early as next month, with construction starting nine to 12 months after that. MTA Executive Director Roger Snoble promised that his agency would move quickly. “It’s a real safety issue,” he said. “We want to get going on that as soon as possible.” Garcia said she would not be convinced until she saw actual progress on the project. She encouraged her fellow lawmakers to continue to press the MTA. “These are just words, and now we have to lobby with MTA to make sure they designate those funds,” she said. “We have to continue to talk to MTA folks to make sure they know the San Gabriel Valley exists.” The money allocated for the interchange project will come from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program. The program, funded by the state gas tax, fees and federal money, is administered by Caltrans but the CTC has the final say on how the funds are spent. [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2306 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!