Process. This is a word that has been abused by Transportation Corridor Agencies. Public outreach for a project is, in fact, a process, but that does not describe what TCA has done. TCA has spent millions of dollars, and more time talking about a process than actually doing one.
It is disingenuous for TCA to tell the public it is studying 18 ideas that are possible outcomes from the agency. TCA is a one-trick pony, and is only empowered to build toll roads. It has no interest in developing modern, alternative transportation solutions, such as arterials or smart lanes that are advocated by other, more enlightened modern transportation agencies.
TCA states that it is working together with other transportation agencies, yet TCA has been told by the Orange County Transportation Authority to cease studying ideas that are currently in OCTA’s planning process and only in their purview. If you remove ideas not in TCA’s ability, there are only five ideas remaining, and they are all toll roads. To further complicate the process, one of those five ideas is the “Green Alignment” that TCA has agreed in a settlement not to build, but it is included as if it was a true alternative. What kind of open and honest public “process” is that?
TCA specializes in irony. TCA was created in 1986 to “plan for, acquire and construct environmentally-sensitive thoroughfares.” However, TCA continues to outdo itself by devising the most environmentally damaging freeways imaginable. TCA’s long-standing plan was to construct a freeway through state parklands. Having failed to execute and settling that lawsuit, TCA has painted itself into a new corner in an unprecedented attempt to take even more public open space, much of it protected by voter initiatives in San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, for its highway. These are the alignments TCA has propagated that cut right through the heart of San Clemente’s open space. By eliminating so much acreage from consideration, the settlement agreement that ended TCA’s Plan A has created Plan B, which provides no option for completing the SR-241 except to blast it through open space preserves and protected ridgelines in close proximity to community parks, schools, trails and homes in San Clemente and other South County communities.
TCA’s new plan would also close a new major arterial highway in Rancho Mission Viejo to public traffic and convert it to a toll road for use only by those who can afford it. Ironically, much of…