The 42nd Congressional District encompasses some of the fastest growing communities in the nation. As is often the case, population growth has been closely followed by increased demands on transportation infrastructure. The Inland Empire region, which consists of Riverside and San Bernardino Counties, was recently bestowed the dubious distinction of having the highest commuting cost in the nation. Just last year, another study determined that residents of the city of Riverside had the unhealthiest commute in America.
Riverside-Orange County Corridor
The 91 freeway is far too congested. Over 250,000 automobiles use the 91 freeway daily to commute between Orange and Riverside Counties and the number of cars is expected to nearly double in the coming years. I have been working with the Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC) and the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) to implement short-term and long-term solutions to improve traffic flow. In the short-term, RCTC and OCTA have built several auxiliary lanes and continue to improve specific chokepoints along the route, such as the SR-91 / SR-71 interchange.
In the long-term, we must build a new route that connects Riverside and Orange County. A recently completed study suggested one possible solution is to build a corridor connecting State Route 133 in Orange County and Interstate 15 at Cajalco Road in Riverside. I share many people’s frustration by the number of studies required before construction can begin, but they are necessary to complete before any concrete can be poured. In 2005, I helped secure $15.8 million to further complete these corridor studies. I will continue to work to secure the funding for improvements along SR-91 and for a new corridor between the counties.
Riverside County is part of a national shipping corridor that extends from the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports to the East Coast. Trains carrying goods through our communities have seriously impacted traffic in our area. Essentially, we are bearing the effects of a national rail system that does little to benefit our region directly. Redesigning intersections between roads and railroads with grade separations, which allows traffic to pass over or under the trains, helps alleviate traffic delays in the region. However, each grade separation costs an average of $27 million, depending on the complexity of each intersection. Riverside County needs more than $400 million to complete all of the grade separations in our area.