News Release

Buses, Tolls, Tunnels and Technology: Think Tanks $700 Billion Plan to Target Southern Californias Bottlenecks and Reduce Traffic Congestion

A network of free-flowing toll lanes would connect all major freeways in Los Angeles, Orange County, Palmdale, Riverside, and San Bernardino.

Today Reason Foundation will unveil a detailed long-range transportation plan to reduce the traffic congestion that has plagued Southern California for decades.

“Drivers in Southern California experience an astonishing 80 hours of delay each year due to traffic congestion in the region – that is two work-weeks of lost productivity per person,” said former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters. “The Reason Foundation report offers solid solutions to these challenges that do not require tax increases and would improve mobility options for all users in the region. I commend the innovative solutions proposed in it.”

The Reason Foundation plan would decrease Southern California’s infamous gridlock by creating a connected network of variably priced toll lanes on all of the region’s major highways and expressways, building six mega-projects to fill in major missing links in the freeway system, creating more than 500 new tolled over- and under-passes at bottlenecked interchanges, expanding the routes and increasing the frequency of bus rapid transit and express bus service, and implementing a series of technological advances to improve accident clearing and stoplight synchronicity.

Traffic modeling forecasts show that toll revenues, not taxpayers, would fund $362 billion of the construction costs, over half of the total price tag. The remaining amount would be paid for through existing transportation funding streams. Additionally, the area’s carpool lanes would be converted to toll lanes, creating a sustainable revenue stream for maintenance.

The Reason Foundation study finds six mega-projects are needed to eliminate major gaps in Southern California’s transportation network. These projects are:

  • I-710 Extension: A tunnel that extends I-710 north and connects with I-210 in Pasadena.
  • Glendale-Palmdale Tunnel: A tunnel extending north from SR 2 in Glendale, connecting with SR 14 just south of Palmdale.
  • Downtown Bypass Tunnel: A tunnel extension of SR 2 south through Los Angeles to I-110.
  • Irvine-Corona Freeway: An expressway and tunnel between Riverside and Orange counties.
  • Cross-Mountain Tunnel: A new expressway and tunnel between US 101 in the San Fernando Valley and I-10 in Los Angeles.
  • High Desert Corridor: A new expressway between SR 14 in Palmdale and I-15 in Victorville.

“Southern California is facing crucial transportation decisions,” said Baruch Feigenbaum, author of Reason Foundation’s Southern California Mobility Plan.
“The region’s current long-range mobility plans admit that traffic congestion will only get worse, even after taxpayers spend over $600 billion on transportation. By focusing on reducing congestion and replacing expensive, ineffective rail proposals with cost-effective buses, Reason’s plan improves mobility for drivers and transit users. And it does so without tax increases.”

“This proposal is based on the reality that planners must accept: In the decades ahead, the overwhelming majority of Southern Californians will continue to rely on cars to get around. But instead of inducing demand through new general-purpose lanes, this plan charges tolls on every new lane-mile and transforms carpool lanes into sustainable toll lanes,” Robert Poole, director of transportation policy at Reason Foundation, said. “Truckers and drivers will pay the full costs of building and maintaining this infrastructure in exchange for faster, more reliable trips. Buses and emergency vehicles will have congestion-free paths to their destinations. And Southern California’s economy will have an interconnected transportation system that allows it to grow and prosper.”

Full Study Online

Reason Foundation’s Southern California Mobility Plan is online here.

Experts to Discuss Southern California Mobility Plan at Event Today

Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, Caltrans Chief Financial Officer Norma Ortega, Southern California Association of Governments Executive Director Hasan Ikhrata, and Reason Foundation’s Robert Poole and Baruch Feigenbaum will discuss Reason’s long-range transportation plan for Southern California today at 11:30 a.m. at City Club Los Angeles.

About Reason Foundation

Reason Foundation is a nonprofit think tank dedicated to advancing free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation produces respected public policy research on a variety of issues and publishes the critically acclaimed Reason magazine and its website For more information please visit

Transportation Contacts

Baruch Feigenbaum, Author, Southern California Mobility Plan; Assistant Director of Transportation Policy, Reason Foundation, (404) 218-6301
Robert Poole, Director of Transportation Policy, Reason Foundation (310) 292-2386
Adrian Moore, Vice President, Reason Foundation, (661) 477-3107