By Jim Shilander
Since the federal Department of Commerce and California Coastal Commission rejected the Transportation Corridor Agencies’ proposed extension of the 241 South to connect with Interstate 5 near Trestles in 2008, opponents of the proposal have had a wary eye on the body, fearing a renewed effort.
It appears that effort will not come, at least for the time being. The TCA announced Tuesday it had withdrawn its intent to prepare an environmental impact statement in support of the proposal in order to focus on its Tesoro extension proposal, which will move the terminus south to the yet-to-be completed Cow Camp Road east of San Juan Capistrano.
The TCA’s acting chief executive officer, Michael Kraman, did not rule out a future proposal but said it would require a new environmental review process to move forward. Lori Olin, a spokeswoman for the TCA, indicated there are no current plans for anything south of Cow Camp Road.
Stefanie Sekich-Quinn of the Surfrider Foundation, which opposed the extension, said the announcement was an acknowledgement by the TCA that the original project was “not viable and never has been viable.”
The agency is still appealing a 2013 decision against its proposed Cow Camp Road extension by the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board. That decision is under review by the state’s Water Resources Control Board. The agency maintains the project’s mitigations meet a “gold standard” for infrastructure projects and the Tesoro extension is still a project of major import.
Sekich said the foundation believes the extension “still doesn’t make sense” and other potential transportation infrastructure improvements could be made, short of extending the 241.