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, CA.