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State Senator Christine Kehoe last week announced the passage of her Senate Bill 468 by a 61-16 vote in the Assembly, the final hurdle before being sent to Governor Brown for signature.

The bill focuses on planned expansion of Interstate 5 between La Jolla Village Drive and Camp Pendleton, known as the North Coast Corridor project. It would allow the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) to install and maintain four high-occupancy toll lanes, which are free for carpoolers and available to other drivers for a fee, similar to those in place on I-15.

“This legislation helps ensure that those living and working within the North Coast Corridor will have viable and convenient transit options during the 40-year period that freeway improvements are underway,” said Kehoe.

An alternative proposed by Caltrans would have added six lanes, requiring up to 420 homes to be seized by eminent domain. Kehoe has said she prefers a plan that can be built using the freeway’s existing right-of-way.

The legislation also requires a minimum of two public hearings on project design and mitigation, and stipulates that “the recently adopted $2.5 billion regional bike plan is used to better link bicycle and pedestrian trails to transit.” Transit and highway improvements will be required to be performed concurrently in order to limit damage to the several coastal lagoons the project crosses.

Cost to improve the 27-mile stretch of road is expected to be $3.5 billion. Funding will come from federal and state government, as well as the local voter-approved half-cent TransNet sales tax.

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