How's This For Irony? | 05/16/2006 | Schwarzenegger touts plan to ease traffic -- and causes traffic mess:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger came to the East Bay today to tout a bond measure to ease traffic jams.

Instead, he caused a traffic jam.

Boy, did he.

Cars began backing up nearly 90 minutes before the governor appeared at a news conference at the Caldecott Tunnel to sign a bill putting a $37.3 billion bond measure on the November ballot. Traffic stretched from Highway 24 to the Acalanes exit in Lafayette, and gawking drivers were not happy, one less-than-thrilled motorist saying: ``Arnold sucks!''

The event was staged in a grassy median between two of the three bores leading into the tunnel. It was scheduled for 9:30 a.m. but Schwarzenegger didn't arrive around 10:20 a.m., as a trio of highway patrol officers stood at the side of the freeway, trying to wave drivers through.

There was no immediate comment for the governor's office on the tie-up.

The location of the news conference ``alone would obviously be a visual hazard,'' said traffic reporter Joe Hoskinson. ``Not to mention all the news vans that were also parked within view of Highway 24 commuters.''

Once drivers passed the governor, cars could be heard roaring through the tunnel.