Eva O’Keefe, San Clemente
Most people know that the toll roads exist. What most people don’t know is how they get their money. The toll roads get their money in three ways. The first way is they sell bonds to investors. The second way is through tolls. The third way is through development fees. Development fees are essentially a tax (fee) on new homes, businesses or substantial remodels.
For example, many of the homes in Forster Ranch and Talega had to pay $5,500 to the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) because we were in the TCA zone. The new homes in Rancho Mission Viejo pay about the same fee of $5,000. When John Wayne Airport was remodeled in 2012 a dispute arose between Subway, Caterina’s, Paradies, Vino Volo and Hudson Group for $157,000 in fees to the TCA. The restaurants/shops say the fees were calculated in an absurd way, and they wanted their money back. A court case decided this and they lost. They had to pay the TCA.
Imagine if all these fees would be used for not just the TCA and their bloated salaries, almost twice as much as the Caltrans director with 38 times greater budget, lobbyists, public relations and sponsoring every event in the community, from golf events to plays and even offering honey baked hams to entice drivers to use the toll roads to the overall regional mobility. Let’s not forget, the TCA builds toll roads only. Enough! Pay down the bonds, make the toll roads free as promised and truly improve mobility in the region. P.S.: You can get the coupon online for the honey baked ham.