Cars moving along a freeway

I-15 Expansion Highlights Tension Between Commerce, Climate Goals

Michael Manville, chair of Urban Planning at UCLA Luskin, spoke to the Los Angeles Times about the approval of a freeway-widening project on Interstate 15. Truck movement along the I-15 is a major driver of the region’s economy, and the project highlights the friction between efforts to expand infrastructure to accommodate commerce and the state’s ambitious climate goals. Now, federal officials are looking into allegations that state and local officials mischaracterized the potential harm the project could cause communities that breathe in some of the nation’s worst air. Proponents of the I-15 expansion had argued that new lanes would speed up commutes, but critics said the opposite was true, that making more space for vehicles would draw even more drivers, increasing congestion and pollution. Traffic modeling studies can be used to say what you want them to say, Manville said. “From the moment we first started using these models many decades ago, they have aspects of being a black box.”


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