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Zombie Road: Controversial San Onofre Toll Stretch Revised

TCA Board Votes To Study Adding Small Segment

The Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) Board voted to move forward with a plan to build a segment of its proposed 16-mile toll road in South Orange County.

The agency will pay for an environmental and financial analysis of the plan to add a 4-mile stretch of the toll road.

The 16-mile toll road was rejected by the California Coastal Commission and the U.S. Commerce Department three years ago. One part of the road would have cut through San Onofre State Beach Park.

Damon Nagami is an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and a member of the Save San Onofre Coalition.

"For TCA to come back and try to build this road in pieces, it's illegal, it's a bad idea and it's a waste of time and money," said Nagami. "This agency needs to focus on real transportation solutions and not try to bring back a project that's dead in the water."

Elizabeth Goldstein is president of the California State Parks Foundation.

"This is a road to nowhere," said Goldstein, speaking on behalf of the Save San Onofre Coalition. "Building this 4-mile segment is an irresponsible and fiscally unsound attempt by the TCA to pressure federal and state officials to ultimately approve a route that would destroy San Onofre State Beach and that has already been forcefully rejected. Even the Bush administration, under pressure from all the lobbyists money can buy, refused to endorse the toll road through San Onofre.

But Lisa Telles with the TCA said that since the California Coastal Commission decision, the agency has held more than 250 meetings with groups for and against the toll road.

"Most say there's still a problem that needs to be solved," Telles said last week. "There's only one route to get through South Orange County, which is a big bottleneck between Los Angeles and San Diego."

Telles also said the entire toll-road system in Orange County (51 miles in total) has all been built in sections.

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