Orange County toll road plan stopped again
For a decade and a half, the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club has been fighting a toll road plan in Orange County that would forever change the landscape of much used parklands and reserves.
Here's our latest victory. The Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA), which is responsible for planning, financing, building, and maintain the toll roads in Orange County again ran into a roadblock in their efforts to build the extension of the California 241 Foothill Toll Road.
In June, the Associated Press reported that California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a lawsuit against the TCA. It charged that the so-called Tesoro Extension was not an independent project but rather “a dead-end 'road to nowhere' and claims its real purpose is to pave the way for a 16-mile extension linking [California] 241 to Interstate 5 near the San Diego County line."
On June 19, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board conducted a hearing on the TCA’s request for a permit to be allow them to discharge waste water during the construction of the Tesoro Extension into the waterways of the county. The hearing was well attended by members of the Angeles Chapter Sierra Club and the Friends of the Foothills Task Force. Both groups have carried the fight against the toll road for the past 15 years.
After hearing from many concerned citizens, the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted 3-2 to deny the TCA the Permit. The chair of the board complimented the staff for their hard work, but he nevertheless concluded that "it is the responsibility of the board to decide policy. In this case, it was not credible that the 'project' was a segment rather than the entire road. And the TCA failed to provide sufficient answers to the board on that issue.”
Stay tuned for the next installment of TCA’s attempts to bulldoze through the San Onofre State Park, the San Mateo Campground, and the Richard and Donna O'Neill Nature Reserve.
Many thanks to all who contributed by writing letters, making comments at the hearing and just showed up to demonstrate your support.
Photo: Angeles Chapter activists have long been opposed to the O.C. toll road extension plan. Credit: Mike Sappingfield