By Deborah Howell
Ready to take a spin down the President Barack H. Obama Highway? The late President Ronald Reagan has been honored in such a way with his name on signs on a freeway east of Simi Valley, and now the 44th President will enjoy a similar honor.
Yesterday, State lawmakers gave final approval to designating a section of the 134 Freeway as the President Barack H. Obama Highway.
What’s the connection? Obama, who left office in January, attended Occidental College in Eagle Rock in 1979 before transferring to Columbia University in 1981. NOW you see why it all makes sense!
Supporters of the measure will now raise the private funds needed to place signs with Obama’s name along the section of the 134 between the 210 Freeway and the 2 Freeway, which includes parts of Glendale, Pasadena and Eagle Rock.
According to the LA Times, State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Cañada Flintridge) said he decided to try to rename the stretch of the Ventura Freeway after learning Obama lived in Pasadena as a student and used the freeway to commute to class at Occidental.
“It is particularly proud to stand today to recognize President Obama’s compassion and heart and dignity on a day when we sorely need compassion, heart and dignity expressed,” Portantino told his colleagues.
The senator added that the renaming makes sense because “President Obama has a strong and productive connection to Southern California, and particularly to this stretch of freeway.”
The Senate vote was 37 to 0 with most Republicans in support. In the Assembly, Republicans either voted against granting the honor, or withheld their vote.
What happens next? Well, Caltrans will now do a cost estimate for the signage. The cost of signs for naming other stretches of freeways in honor of public figures has ranged from $3,000 to $7,000.
The late President Reagan was honored with his name on signs on a freeway east of Simi Valley.