Lillian Boyd, San Clemente Times
The California Senate Transportation Committee unanimously approved Senate Bill 1373 on Friday, May 29—a bill proposed by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) that would enshrine into law that no toll road extension will go through the City of San Clemente.
The next hearing on SB 1373 will likely be in the Senate Appropriations Committee on Monday, June 8, before it could be voted on in the Senate and subsequently signed into law.
On March 12, the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA)—which oversees Orange County’s toll roads—announced that it was no longer considering extending SR 241, a proposed route that would cut through San Clemente.
“However many San Clemente residents remain concerned that there is nothing preventing the TCA in the future from reconsidering the abandoned option,” according to a City of San Clemente statement. “SB 1373 would help ensure that the TCA cannot extend the toll road through the middle of San Clemente.”
SB 1373 would clarify existing law that State Route 241 will not run through the City of San Clemente. The bill would remove from state law a highway alignment that state and regional transportation agencies have abandoned due to its significant environmental and economic costs.
“Today’s outcome is a major step towards ensuring that a potential toll road extension will not tear the City of San Clemente apart,” said Bates. “If signed into law, SB 1373 will give San Clemente residents the certainty they desire to keep their city together for future generations. I will continue to work with stakeholders as the bill moves forward this year.”
San Clemente Mayor Pro Tem Laura Ferguson also applauds the passage of the bill.
“While the TCA board agreed that the 241 extension through San Clemente will not be studied or built, today’s news about SB 1373 provides optimism that this decision has a good chance of never being able to be undone by future boards,” said Ferguson. “We are extremely appreciative that Senator Bates has been such a champion for our City and for good transportation policy for South Orange County. We look forward to continuing to work with TCA, OCTA and the County in creating real solutions for decreasing traffic in the region.”
SB 1373 deletes from the state highway system the portion of State Route 241 from State Route 5 south of the City of San Clemente to Oso Parkway east of the City of Mission Viejo.
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.