U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon
Testifies Before Congress for I-5 Federal Funding

Santa Clarita leaders, stakeholders support local Congressman’s efforts for Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement project
April 28, 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita) advocated before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Highways and Transit for federal funding to support infrastructure improvements to Interstate 5. Today’s testimony is the first step in a process to reauthorize the five year surface transportation bill, which funds the nation’s highways and transit systems. While most funding is distributed from the federal Highway Trust Fund via formula, a number of regional priorities will be included in the bill as well.
    "Regionally, the I-5 is one of the most significant transportation corridors and goods movement arteries in California and the country," stated McKeon. It is an essential international trade artery connecting West Coast industry with Canada and Mexico and is vital for efficient goods movement from the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to destinations in California, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.
    "The I-5 is also susceptible to complete gridlock, costing billions of dollars for tragic events such as the large truck fire in 2007 and the Northridge earthquake of 1994. The Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project will help relieve congestion along one of the most heavily traveled portions of the I-5, which currently experiences 48,000 daily hours of delay, costing motorists $204 million annually."
    Mayor Frank Ferry of the City of Santa Clarita says Interstate 5 is a key economic lifeline for California and for the nation.
    "Over the next 20 years, traffic is expected to double on Interstate 5 and expansion of this critical arterial is vital to our commerce here in California and in the United States. Interstate 5 is the heartbeat and lifeblood to commerce in the U.S. and without expansion of this vital interstate; we will greatly impact the delivery of goods, services and the movement of our people."
    Executive Director of the Golden State Gateway Coalition, Victor Lindenheim, echoed the Mayor and spoke specifically about the Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement project.
    "The I-5 Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement project is a project of national significance because it directly benefits the state of California and the nation by contributing to economic recovery, cleaner air and public safety while relieving traffic congestion. It is a key link to efficient goods movement on the West coast and a model for future public/private partnerships."
    Santa Clarita Valley businessman Larry Rasmussen stressed that free-flowing roadways are critical to the economy.
    "A quick look at a road map of the west coast will clearly show the vital importance of a free moving, non-congested Interstate 5 to the national economy, goods movement, and our national defense. Currently I-5 at the SR14/SR210 ‘funnel’ is stopped more than 70% of the time. When the I-5 stops, the economy on the west coast stops. We cannot allow this to continue!"
    Senior Vice-President of Marketing and Communications for Newhall Land and Farming Company, Marlee Lauffer, says the Gateway Improvement project is recognized for being critical to the economy, environment, and public safety needs of California.
    "Not only will the project benefit the more than 73 million drivers — including a significant number in trucks — who traverse this section annually, it will also provide important goods movement and safety access to the greater Los Angeles area through the Santa Clarita Valley. The return on investment for this project is dramatic and the public and private support for the improvements significant."
    McKeon went on to say that "Caltrans and the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which have numerous high priority projects, have placed an increased urgency on improvements to the I-5."
    The Santa Clarita-Los Angeles Gateway Improvement Project will:
    • Extend existing high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes for several miles along Interstate 5.
    The HOV lanes would provide needed efficiency at peak times for a key stretch of highway, which serves as a gateway to and from Los Angeles for thousands of commuters each day. The HOV lanes would extend from the State Route 14 (SR-14) Interchange to Parker Road.
    • Incorporate dedicated truck climbing lanes along steeper portions of the freeway.
    Truck volumes are expected to double by 2030, so dedicated truck lanes from the SR-14 Interchange to Pico Canyon Road/Lyons Avenue will be necessary to improve the flow of goods movement in the corridor, region, and internationally — helping to keep America’s ports competitive with new ports in Mexico and Canada. In Southern California, this goods movement represents a direct economic impact of more than $90 billion in economic activity and supports 690,000 jobs.
    For maps and more information, visit
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