Via NRDC: Another Chance to Stand Up For California’s Coast and Reject the Toll Road

Via NRDC: Another Chance to Stand Up For California’s Coast and Reject the Toll Road

The second part of the two-part hearing on a preliminary permit for an already-rejected toll road in Southern California is coming up soon. Our friends at NRDC and Surfrider Foundation have been leading the charge against the zombie toll road, and NRDC recently issued this reminder about the upcoming hearing in San Diego. From NRDC:  We are still fighting the notorious Foothill-South Toll Road, an ill-conceived highway project that would pave over San Onofre State Beach, one of the most popular state parks in California, and destroy some of the last remaining wildlands along the southern California coast. We now have one last chance for folks in the San Diego area to tell the water board to reject TCA’s efforts to push through this disastrous highway proposal. Please join our coalition allies Surfrider Foundation and others at the water board hearing onWednesday, June 19th, at 1:00 p.m. and speak out against the toll road. The hearing will be held at the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board
 Meeting Room,9174 Sky Park Court,
 San Diego, CA 92123. The official notice of hearing can be found here. June 19th, 1:00 PM San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board 9174 Sky Park Court San Diego, CA 92123 If you don’t live near San Diego, you can help our cause by sending a personal message to the water board. Click here to take action. We need to fill the room in San Diego to let the water board know that we’re serious about protecting water quality and coastal resources, and that means saying NO to the toll road. Spread the word and let’s send this “zombie road” back to the...

Read More

TCA: Never Mind the Public, We’re Building the Stupid Road

TCA: Never Mind the Public, We’re Building the Stupid Road

In an unsurprising yet still stunning move, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) in Orange County, California took formal action to approve plans for a hotly-controversial toll road. To avoid the inevitable heat, the TCA held no hearing, held no workshops, provided no comment period, and only provided minimal notice for a special meeting, before simply taking a vote. This, despite multiple assurances that the public would have chance to weigh in. The proposed extension to a toll road — the “Tesoro extension” — is part of a road that was already rejected by the California Coastal Commission and the Bush Administration’s Commerce Department in 2008 due to impacts to San Onofre State Park and the world-famous Trestles surfing beach. TCA’s “special meeting” was called in an effort to avoid normal meeting notice requirements.  So, with only two days notice, the TCA approved controversial environmental documents and approved the conceptual design for one of the most controversial road projects in the country. According to the agenda, the TCA then closed the special meeting to discuss litigation, both pending and potential — their appalling process to approve the unwanted toll road, no doubt, a topic of...

Read More

Proposed California Toll Road Is Also Financially Unsustainable

Proposed California Toll Road Is Also Financially Unsustainable

A controversial toll road, which opponents say threatens San Onofre State Park and the historic Trestles surfing beach, has new opposition. A new report from the respected Pacific Research Institute says the proposed road would compound financial troubles at the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) which has been pushing the concept for years. The report, entitled “Orange County Toll Roads:  Serious Concerns Should Lead to Significant Review by State and Local Officials,” was released Tuesday and was co-authored by former California Finance Director Donna Arduin. The report gives a harsh critique of the financial position of the TCA and the massive taxpayer subsidies required to make the numbers work for southern California toll roads. The report points out the toll rates for existing toll roads are among the highest in the country, as are the debt-per-mile ratios of TCA toll system. Sagging ridership and mounting debt have led to less attractive bond ratings for the projects. “Based on my review, the operations of these toll roads presently appear to be unsustainable and may have been unworkable from their inception,” Ms. Arduin said in a statement.  “[S]ubsequent decisions by TCA board members and managers have made matters worse.” The report says that risky financing is bad enough, but extending the controversial toll road would only make things worse financially. Until the finances are fixed, the Institute recommends tabling the new new road proposal. This is the first time the Pacific Research Institute has opposed a road. Regardless of the financing, the road would have serious environmental impacts. The road has been defeated once before, but the TCA is trying again. An initial permit on a limited segment extending the toll road is still pending.  UPDATE 4/11/13: This news brief from OC Weekly notes that the TCA just lost another long-running court battle with the Commerce Department over denial of the toll road in 2008. Great lede, great kicker....

Read More

Zombie Toll Road Returns to Southern California

Zombie Toll Road Returns to Southern California

A proposed California toll road, rejected by the California Coastal Commission and rejected by the Bush Administration because of significant environmental impacts, has returned, zombie-like, for a water quality permit for just one segment of the rejected road.  The Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) will go before a San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board in support of the “Tesoro Extension Project” which is just one segment of a proposed 16-mile toll road through San Onofre Park in southern California. The original toll road was rejected by the California Coastal Commission and the federal government in 2008 due to habitat concerns and significant impacts to San Onofre Park, one of California’s most popular state parks and home to the famous Trestles surfing beach. The toll road route is home to eleven threatened or endangered species, and the area impacted includes portions of San Mateo Creek which, according to advocates, is “one of the last unspoiled watersheds in southern California.” How does TCA think its already-rejected road is going to get built? As Damon Nagami from NRDC points out, “TCA is now trying to revive the “zombie road” by building it in segments, instead of all sixteen miles at once. The problem is that this ‘segmentation’ approach is illegal under both state and federal law. As NRDC’s Joel Reynolds pointed out when TCA announced its plan a little over a year ago, this is simply a ploy by TCA to circumvent the Coastal Commission and Department of Commerce decisions and build the entire road through San Onofre.” The control board hearing will be held March 13th, 9:00 AM, at the Costa Mesa City Council Chambers, 77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa,...

Read More