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Elon Musk Didn't Exactly Give $50k to Speed Up 405 Widening

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We already knew Tesla and Paypal cofounder Elon Musk has ideas for the 405 (double-deck it, make it pretty), but the Bel Air resident is so over the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project (it's that widening that caused Carmageddon and The Rampture) that he's given $50,000 to speed up work, according to the LA Times--well, sort of. "That'll cover about a half-inch of pavement," LAT business columnist Michael Hiltzik tweeted today about Musk's pledge, and Metro's Dave Sotero has no record of money coming from Musk, adding that it's highly unusual, and likely not allowed, for a private individual to donate money to a public works project (so Eli Broad won't be funding an extension of the Crenshaw Line to West Hollywood). Turns out that Musk actually gave that money to Angelenos Against Gridlock, a group that advocates to speed up infrastructure projects. David Murphy of AAG tells us the donation will go toward "outreach."

The effort to build a northbound carpool lane over the Santa Monica Mountains and build new on- and off-ramps and bridges is running a year late, driving many like Musk--who commutes to Hawthorne--to frustration ("It just seems people in Los Angeles are being tortured by this," he said. "I don't know why they aren't marching in the streets.").

Responding to Musk's frustrations and the LAT piece, Sotero says the 405 project is two-thirds complete and "we've exhumed all of the devils of the project," meaning the hard part is behind them. He emphasized the project was managed through the design/build process, in which a project is designed as it's built, shaving years off the construction timeline. Lastly, the project will open in phases and there is hope that portions of the high-occupancy lane could be usable this summer.
· Elon Musk hates 405 Freeway traffic, offers money to speed widening [LA Times]