Metro Executive Director of Highway Programs Doug Failing (who also happens to be a longtime resident of Arcadia) presented most of the major new highway projects being worked on and planned at today’s (Jan. 9. 2014) Government Affairs Forum, sponsored by Expedia, including a High Desert Corridor plan to link state highway 14 with Interstate 15. That plan would dramatically reduce truck traffic on the 210 Foothill Freeway while shaving miles and many minutes off the driving time for freight haulers. (TV news interview below.)
Also at the monthly meeting Forum, longtime co-chair Mary Dougherty was presented a bouquet of flowers from the new MD’s Florist at Huntington Drive and Santa Anita Avenue, a Chamber wine glass, and a certificate of appreciation by Chairman Jack Orswell. Dougherty is moving to Carlsbad to be closer to her children and grandchildren.
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Dougherty has been co-chair or Chairman of the Forum for more than a decade, and has been the Chamber’s representative at the monthly meetings of the San Gabriel Valley Economic Partnership’s legislative committee and the San Gabriel Valley Legislative Coalition of Chambers. Also presenting certificates of appreciation to Dougherty were Tommy Tseng from Congresswoman Judy Chu’s office, Iso Nakasato from Senator Ed Hernandez’s office and Oliva Lee from Assemblyman Ed Chau’s office. In thanking the Chamber and the reps, Dougherty, who served as a School Board member, including a stint as President, said she learned how important the relationship was between the school district and local businesses, which is what prompted her to become involved with the Chamber and the Government Affairs Forum.
Under the topic of Public-Private Partnership Projects, Failing said that with the state gas tax remaining unchanged for nearly 20 years and cars becoming more fuel efficient, there is far less revenue being generated for Metro highway projects these days, and the money that comes in has far less buying power than it did two decades ago as construction costs have risen dramatically.
The goals of the project:
- Address current and future regional growth
- Improve east-west mobility
- Enhance safety
- Improve connections between regional airports and efficient movement of goods.
Another project is the I-710 corridor which provides improvement of 18-miles of the Long Beach Freeway from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach to the north, and includes potential provision for exclusive freight and goods movement facilities.
Failing and Chamber CEO Scott Hettrick were interviewed at the Forum by TV network NTD, which had three representatives at the meeting, including NTDTV contributor & Business Development Cindy Cheung, reporter Sherry Liu, and Anne Lu, director of client services. Cheung offered to cover any Chamber member event; contact her in El Monte at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 626-532-0023. (See NTDTV video news segment below…)
Arcadia City Councilmember Bob Harbicht reported the completion of new 4-year contracts with all five bargaining units (unions), a first for the City so far in advance of annual budget planning this spring, and an effort in the works for six years. He credited Mayor Mickey Segal and City Manager Dominic Lazzaretto for spearheading the effort and also Assistant City Manager Jason Kruckeberg and Administrative Services Director Hue Quach.
Harbicht also reported that escrow has closed on the sale of four properties on Santa Anita Avenue to Rusnak Arcadia Mercedes and Economic Development Manager Jerry Schwartz said construction has begun on a new showroom a block north of Huntington Drive.