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LOS ANGELES-The state Transportation Commission today formally accepted an $892-million spending plan from Governor Gray Davis aimed at easing California’s worsening traffic problems, with about one-third of the money earmarked for projects in the Southland.

The money that Davis wants to spend is the state’s share of revenue the US government collects from federal gasoline taxes, truck-weight fees and other levies. It would supplement the $5.3 billion long-term Traffic Congestion Relief Program that the Davis Administration proposed several months ago.

About $260 million of the new spending would occur in Southern California. The plan includes $7 million for improvements on the Long Beach Freeway in LA and Pasadena, plus $5 million to build a new commuter rail station in Yorba Linda. Millions more would be spent to upgrade a stretch of U.S. 101 between LA and the San Francisco Bay Area, and on five projects aimed at improving Route 91 between Orange County and the Inland Empire.

The proposal comes less than a week after the region’s planning czar, the Southern California Association of Governments, gave the Southland’s transportation system a D in the group’s annual “report card.” SCAG warned that the region’s entire economy could be threatened if progress isn’t made soon in easing traffic, improving public schools and building more affordable housing.

The Transportation Commission will begin a review of the governor’s new spending plan soon and should have a final package ready by the spring, a spokesperson for the agency says.

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