Mark McGuire, San Clemente
The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) were specifically created in the 1980s to plan, permit and construct the San Joaquin Hills, Eastern and Foothill “Transportation Corridors” within general alignments already selected by the county and shown on the Master Plan of Arterial Highways (for example, the Foothill Corridor was shown going around not through the cities of San Juan Capistrano and San Clemente). Special state legislation allows the TCA to charge fees on all new development and to issue bonds repaid by collecting tolls. However, once all bonds are paid off, the corridors are to become free roads.
The corridors cost more and were used less than predicted, so the TCA’s bonds were extended (to 2050 and 2053). Also, after spending decades and $200 million-plus seeking approvals for the final stretch of the Foothill Corridor, the TCA gave up on the designated route via a settlement with environmentalists.
Now the TCA is pretending it’s a regional transportation agency looking at all “mobility solutions,” like more trains and adding bike lanes. In truth, it hopes to cram a toll road through to I-5 where it was never planned—and all potential routes would devastate established communities.
So my question to elected representatives on the TCA is this: are you promise keepers or mission creepers?
Promise keepers would limit spending and use all surplus revenue to pay down the bonds to make the toll roads free, ASAP. The roads could be free sooner than currently scheduled—a great mobility solution.
Mission creepers would continue to spend wildly on lobbyists and consultants, hoping to extend the Foothill toll road, not where promised but in a new, unexpected location (and at great expense). Bonds will stay unpaid, and the existing toll roads will not become free, as promised.
Voters prefer promise keepers over mission creepers.