Very soon, on parts of the I-10 and 110 freeways, it's going cost you to use the car pool lanes — even if you have a passenger. You'll have to deposit $40 to get a transponder and then pay for every mile you travel in those lanes. The price will be different at different times of day. It's been tried in cities around the country and around the world to ease traffic congestion. Will it work in LA? Also, will LA county voters agree to extend the sales tax increase they approved overwhelmingly just four years ago? Will it speed up vital transportation projects or increase pollution and violate bus riders' civil rights? On our rebroadcast of today's To the Point, the Pentagon, "sequester" and national security.
FROM THIS EPISODE
Starting on November 10, there's going to be big change on Interstate 110, between Adams Boulevard and the 91 Freeway. The same thing will happen early next year on Interstate 10 between Alameda Street and the 605. HOV lanes are going to be transformed into HOT -- High Occupancy Toll -- lanes. An extra passenger won't do the job any more. KCRW's Saul Gonzalez has been studying up on what's called congestion pricing.
Four years ago, even with the economy in big trouble, two thirds of Los Angeles County voters approved Measure R, a sales-tax increase to help build some 15 specific transportation projects. That tax will expire in 2039 unless voters approve Measure J on next month's ballot. It would extend the tax until 2069. One sponsor is County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky. Different people oppose Measure J for a host of different reasons. The Bus Riders Union says it's a blank check for METRO to violate civil rights.
In August, when the White House and Congress failed to agree on taxes and spending, they compromised on what's called "sequester." That means an automatic 10 percent across-the-board cut in domestic spending and in the Pentagon, effective on the first day of next year. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that would be "a disaster" for the Pentagon. How much defense spending does the United States really need? How much can it reasonably afford? Will it really happen or will the White House and Congress kick the can down the road once again?
David Wessel, Brookings Institution (@davidmwessel)
Kori Schake, Hoover Institution (@KoriSchake)
Robert Zarate, Foreign Policy Initiative (@foreignpolicyi)
Gordon Adams, American University / Foreign Policy magazine (@Gadams1941)