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Traffic-Fixing Group May Have Own Special Interests (But Do You Care?)

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The Los Angeles Business Journal's David Haldane checks out FAST, a year-old nonprofit agency looking to find short-term solutions to our terrible traffic problems. With a board of directors that includes ex-mayor Richard Riordan and about to be ex-MTA head Roger Snoble, the group, which has a $400,000-a-year-budget, is suggesting everything from synchronizing traffic signals in neighboring cities to more toll and bike lanes to subsiding employees' transportation fees (for commuters). Sounds like a great group, right? (Plus, look at their logo: It's like the Greyhound bus dog ran so fast he morphed into a cloud.) One problem: The group is founded by Jim Thomas, the chairman and chief executive of Thomas Properties Group Inc., the developer behind the $800 million NBC Universal project in Studio City. What the cynics say: "'I would think that some really good public relations consultant got hold of him," says Anastasia Mann, president of the Hollywood Hills West Neighborhood Council, a group that is worried about the traffic as a result of the NBC project. On the other hand, City Councilman Tom LaBonge, who has has fought to reduce the size of the project, tells the paper that he is listening to Thomas. "Big things need to be done," he tells the paper. Also: The LABJ passes on the news that Toluca Lake's Roy P. Disney, nephew of Walt Disney (and also a billionaire) also wants the project reduced.
· Non-Profit in Drive to Ease Gridlock [LABJ]
· FAST Group's Goals [Official Site]