Traffic in South Orange County is getting worse and everyone knows it. In fact, the Orange County Transportation Authority projects that Orange County traffic delays will increase by 64 percent over the next 18 years. With 14,000 new homes approved for construction, South County leaders must plan to accommodate the tens of thousands of new vehicles destined for our roads. Further, with the nearest trauma center more than 12 miles away from San Clemente and I-5 serving as the only route, South County faces serious public safety risks in the event of a disaster or need for emergency/critical care.
That is why the Transportation Corridor Agencies have brought South County elected officials together to develop solutions with early input from the public. TCA is doing things different than transportation planners have in the past by involving the public before decisions are made, as they are the ones that live the South County traffic nightmare daily. Doubling down on transparency, TCA has consistently made all results, feedback and information about traffic relief planning available to the public, and remains intent on finding a balanced solution for all of South County and not one community over another.
However, it would appear the San Clemente City Council is attempting to impugn the traffic relief effort in which they have long had input and now falsely denigrating the Agency’s finances, successful toll roads, and motives.
The fact is the Toll Roads’ finances are in the best condition ever as evidenced by the recent bond rating upgrades. Add the agency’s strong liquidity and growing reserve fund balances, and one would be hard pressed to find a more viable agency to bring traffic relief, especially one that pays for itself with user tolls and zero taxpayer funds.
Further, TCA’s current highways are designated as Transportation Control Measures by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the Southern California Association of Governments. This means all its roads help reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the point that without them, the six-county region would be violating air quality compliance and stand to lose tens, if not hundreds of millions, in grant funding for transportation projects, including local projects.
TCA’s innovative practices of developing and managing fiscally and environmentally responsible toll roads have earned the agency the honor of receiving the 2017 Sustainability Award for Outstanding Achievement by SCAG and…