By Chris Hamm, San Clemente City Council Member
The fight that never ends. Of course, I’m talking about the toll road. Just when we think we’ve stopped the worst idea they could come up with: building a freeway through San Onofre, we are shocked to find out that they have traded that idea for something just as insane. There are no words to describe my disgust with the thought of building a toll road next to three high schools, bisecting multiple neighborhoods and destroying acres of parks and trails that are set aside as open space.
There has been misinformation spread to stop us from joining forces and putting the toll road to bed for good. They will have you believe that the residents of San Clemente want the toll road to go through San Onofre. Let me set the record straight:
- I applaud and support the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC) for their work in protecting the park for future generations.
- I have been fighting to stop the toll road for 20 years and will fight until my last breath to end the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA).
- Under no circumstance will I support any decision to build a toll road through the State Park. I will not support the toll road being built an inch past where it currently ends.
So, what can we do? We must stand strong together and not be divided by detractors that want to continue the “King’s Highway.” If you live in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, Rancho Mission Viejo, or you’re a parent of a student at San Clemente High, Tesoro High, San Juan Hills High—you need to stand up and fight. If you’re a mountain biker, hiker, surfer, camper or just enjoy the undeveloped open space around South Orange County—you need to stand up and fight. Let’s make our voices heard. Let’s stand united. Log onto San-clemente.org to find out who you can write to and the next steps in the fight. Toll roads are not traffic solutions.
Here’s the city of San Clemente’s position: The city’s lawsuit does not challenge the SSOC settlement agreement; it challenges the agreement that binds CalTrans to the settlement agreement and removes all traffic solutions from CalTrans except a toll road through South Orange County. The city supports studying arterial solutions that relieve traffic. To show this support, the city has pledged $89,000 to complete a mobility study that looks at ways to improve traffic circulation (without a toll road).
We have been fighting the toll road for a lifetime; over the last 20 years the community has stood strong against the TCA. Make no mistake, the TCA is hoping that we end up fighting each other instead of uniting against them. Do not be fooled, it is time to abolish the TCA.