Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Piecemeal Toll Road is Still a Toll Road

Local activist Steve Netherby wrote this great summary of the issue in response to the TCA's latest proposal to get the toll road moving...


Pretty clever: build it in pieces so we'll say, "You've built it this far, you might as well go ahead and finish it." Go here to vote NO on the toll road; here's why:

TCA (Transportation Corridor Agencies) knows how you boil a frog. You don't throw it into boiling water; it'll jump out. You put it in nice cool water and turn up the heat a little at a time. The frog adapts and accepts. Then it boils.

Don't try to build it all at once they say; we've seen that won't fly. Build it to San Juan; when it funnels traffic onto their already clogged local streets, they'll clamor to have it continued to Pico in San Clemente (we named that the "Extortion Alignment" when they tried it before); Pico's traffic mess would get even messier, so they'll say, send the traffic on to the I-5! Thus, we're boiled.

This bankrupt proposal has been turned down by the California Coastal Commission for the watershed and coastal destruction it would cause. It's been turned down by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce as a terrible transportation idea and because it would violate a Native American sacred site. Camp Pendleton has said no to it. It's drawn decades of protests from Surfrider, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, Trout Unlimited, local groups like Friends of the Foothills, and thousands of citizens from California, across the country, and around the world.

It would destroy San Clemente's neighbor, The Richard and Donna O'Neill Conservancy (bulldozing tops off the hills to fill the valleys); San Onofre State Beach (TCA lobbyists are in Washington, D.C. right now, trying to persuade the Navy department to end the park's lease); the Christianitos and San Mateo drainages; immense tracts of priceless South Orange County and North San Diego backcountry; and Trestles—the Yosemite of surfing.

On top of all that, it would, if continued to its proposed confluence with Interstate 5 south of San Clemente, create an El Toro Y of the south, snarling traffic for miles north through San Clemente ... back toward the original El Toro Y!

But this should surprise no one, especially the TCA. Years ago, I attended the Laguna Beach luncheon where Supervisor Pat Bates introduced new TCA CEO Thomas Margro to business leaders and fellow Orange County politicians. Margro didn't say on that occasion, "I'm here to solve Orange County's transportation problems." Instead, he said, "I'm here to deliver the Foothill South toll road!" Regardless of cost and consequences ... especially to our environment and quality of life, but also to the TCA itself: TCA board member Beth Krom of the Irvine City Council warned her colleagues—including San Clemente's toll-road yes-man Councilman Jim Dahl—that floating more bonds would place the agency in a precarious financial position (a position TCA is very familiar with, as toll-road use [therefore traffic reduction on I-5] never lives up to their blue-sky projections). Please go here to vote NO on the TCA's toll-road scheme.
There are alternatives to this boondoggle that will actually help our traffic situation and create even more jobs: Local officials are working to close the funding gap in order to complete La Pata north out of San Clemente to the Ortega. This will also give San Clementeans another northern exit route in the event of a radiation accident at San Onofre Nuclear Generating Plant (SONGS). And when I-5 is widened through San Clemente, as planned, it will actually speed traffic, instead of adding to it, as the toll road (and the development that would follow it) inevitably would.

Please forward this to at least 10 people, go here to cast your vote against the toll road, and, as the fight against the TCA heats up, do all you can to help us "Save Trestles" and "Stop the Toll Road"—AGAIN.

Thank you.

Steve

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