Thursday, October 6, 2011

“More pavement is always better than less pavement”.




You probably figured out Surfrider didn’t say, “more pavement is always better than less pavement”. And you probably realized it was the desperate toll road developers at the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) that would even think, let alone say something so out of touch. Yesterday Surfrider Foundation along with Natural Resource Defense Council attended TCA’s Finance and Operations Committee meeting to learn they are proposing to build the first 4 miles of their once denied project. Their new cockamamie plan aims to build the road from Oso Parkway to just north of Ortega Highway.

We know. It’s utterly baffling. It's clear the TCA is proposing an illegal piecemeal project that has already been rejected by the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration. Their hubris is actually pretty amazing—they are trying to evade the law by breaking up the road into little chunks.

Let’s just say in a crazy, pretend world, they obtained all the permits to build the first segment of the road. There would still be major environmental impacts. In addition to substantial grading of the terrain, there would be impacts on San Juan Creek. Even the TCA’s own engineer admitted there are engineering and environmental challenges at San Juan Creek near Ortega Highway.

Plus, ending the road near Ortega doesn’t make traffic sense! Anyone who drives this area can tell you that. Even members of the Board of Directors will tell you that Ortega Highway is not a highly functioning road and it couldn’t handle the extra traffic (a few members outright admitted this yesterday).

Now, to compound an already senseless situation, they are proposing harebrained funding schemes. One mechanism of funding is based on future traffic models for the area. Funding would be calculated by taking “projected” daily trips multiplied by tolls. This scheme, founded on cooked numbers, tries to justify building the project, rather than objectively predicting actual demand. TCA once again admitted a downfall by acknowledging none of their traffic models have ever been correct. Yet they want to obtain funding on faulty models?

As if the TCA hasn’t made enough missteps with this piecemeal plan, they are also overlooking public input (just like they did with the first go-around of the project). Since being denied at the state and Federal level, the TCA has been touting their “outreach” efforts. Yet, they are allowing only one week to do more outreach before the Board fully approves the segment measure. How is that consistent with their “extensive outreach models”?

And since we are living in hard economic times with money woes dominating news cycles and dinner-table conversations, it’s worth pointing out that the TCA has been seeking Federal funding through the TIFIA program over the years. That’s our public money, people! This flagrantly contradicts their claim that they do not rely on public funds.

Well, despite hearing this bothersome news, we can actually thank the TCA. Thanks TCA for giving us a new saying that we will make into a mockery for a tee shirt design (i.e. “more pavement is better than less pavement”). And thank you once again for bringing together our tightly organized Save San Onofre Coalition. We, and the surrounding communities, are united in opposition to this piecemeal plan and will not stop fighting until it’s dead (again).

45 comments:

Nicole said...

OH NO.

The TCA sucks! said...

I guess the TCA wants to get their asses kicked...YET AGAIN. I'm ready for round two; BRING IT!

Belinda Smith said...

Unbelievably stupid on their part. What a waste of their own resources and everyone's time.

We're ready to stop them. Our entire community is!

Anonymous said...

Trolls regenerate... why should Toll Trolls be any different?

They can't quit... they've probably got so many shady, back-ally deals that they can't quit.

.. we aren't quitting either!

Stop the Toll Troll!!!

Anonymous said...

Read about this in the local paper today (eating lunch at A's Burgers in DP) and you wanna know when are they gonna stop?

Never!

Population = commerce = taxes = more money for other un wanted and un warranted projects = bigger budgets = bigger salaries and bigger kick backs.

THIS IS WHAT THEY DO!

If we have to "occupy Trestles" we will.

socalfour said...

This toll road extension is designed to give the Rancho Mission Viejo Company road capacity to get entitlements to build up to 14,000 homes and 5 million sf of retail/commercial on San Juan Capistrano's eastern border - essentially, a whole new city. They currently have entitlements to build only a small phase with residential, commercial and retail.

I have watched the Ranch and its CEO Tony Moiso control SJC politics for years. The most blatant abuse was the council’s behind-closed-doors purchase of so-called open space from the Ranch – across the street from the Ranch’s planned development and proposed toll road extension.

The $27.5 million real estate deal with public bond money was negotiated by Tony Moiso’s long-time good friend and sometime business partner Brad Gates, a private citizen, who was exempted by the SJC city attorney from having to file a conflict of interest disclosure form. To give you an example of how bad this deal was, Gates negotiated into the purchase a sweetheart deal for Moiso's annual "Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo" which allowed the Ranch to hold it on our property free of charge for the next 50 yrs (meanwhile no one else, including SJC can hold a rodeo on our property). The majority of the rodeo proceeds go to Gates' private "Open Space Foundation" as stipulated in the purchase agreement.

The public knew nothing about how bad this deal was until after it was approved by the council (again, behind closed doors). The purchase reads more like a lease with all the restrictions, including the fact that SJC residents are prohibited from setting foot on the property, even though our property taxes were raised to pay for it for the next 20 yrs.

The stench from the Ranch and their backroom deals reaches all the way to the state level, so be prepared for another fight. There are many millions of dollars at stake for the Ranch and they will stop at nothing to get what they want. Please keep up the good fight!

surfgent said...

Wow - socalfour's highly informative insights on the Rancho Mission Viejo Co.s' land dealings in SJC is crazy. This tells me that we really need a WikiLeaks type site to help expose all of the corrupt business dealings going on in SoCal communities (as well as nationwide)!
SJC residents should file a class action lawsuit against the City Council for this deal.

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