Jennifer Nicholson Geller, San Clemente
If you’re not outraged by the future extension of the 241 Toll Road because you “don’t get involved in politics” or “it will never happen,” it is time to reconsider. This isn’t a game of politics but your quality of living, your children’s health and your home values are at stake. The threat is real and the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is moving forward.
Toll roads in Orange County have never served the vast majority of motorists, only those who can afford to pay. Did you know we (through Caltrans) are footing the ongoing maintenance bill for these roads that most of us don’t or can’t use? We were duped into paying for the toll roads through development fees, loss of open space and public lands, in addition to some of the highest tolls in the country. Due to TCA mismanagement and faulty projections, these roads may never be free as they were ultimately intended.
Now, the TCA wants to bulldoze through our town. Although they deny having chosen a specific route, there is no denying that their efforts are locked on a proposed route that would wind straight through the center of town. This route would destroy thousands of homes, divide our city and come dangerously close to parks and schools. Most visible would be its encroachment on and over San Clemente High School. The toll road will blaze through miles of the city’s open space. The TCA has been secretive and dishonest in their attempt to push their road through, strategically pitting us against other groups.
Although their 2016 settlement with the Surfrider Foundation and the Save San Onofre Coalition “saved” Trestles, the foundation made a sour deal, agreeing not to take a position on any future proposed routes. This effectively pushed the TCA back to reconsider the San Clemente route that they themselves had rejected years earlier due to the destructiveness of the route.
There has been an amazing groundswell of support from local citizens and public officials to stop the toll road, but it is still very much a David-versus-Goliath effort. Educate yourself, write a letter, display a lawn sign, donate to www.gofundme.com/stop-the-toll-road.