MICHELLE SCHUMACHER, San Clemente
I am writing to you today to ask for your support in reducing a significant tax on all Orange County residents that oftentimes goes unnoticed.
Are you aware that the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) has taxed many Orange County residents to the tune of roughly $742.13 million since being established in 1987?
This tax comes in the form of Development Impact Fees that are assessed on new residential and commercial properties developed within the areas that are meant to benefit from the toll roads. The fee is paid to the TCA also for many remodels, driving up housing and business costs.
The TCA was formed in 1987 with the explicit purpose of constructing the 73, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. At the time that the TCA was established, bonds were issued to pay for construction of these new Toll Roads.
The promise made by the TCA at the time was that its debt taken for construction of these new toll roads would be paid off through a combination of Development Fees and tolls collected on the roads by drivers who use the roads.
One hundred percent of the debt was to be paid off within 30 years, and the toll roads were supposed to become freeways like the rest of the interstate highways in California. As it turns out, the TCA has horribly mismanaged its role and has squandered these silent taxes, tolls and penalties.
Not only are the 73, 241 and 261 still toll roads and not freeways, but the TCA is still over $4 billion in debt for construction of these roads, and the debt is growing in the wrong direction, according to the office of Assemblymember Bill Brough.
This is a dereliction of duty and a travesty for Orange County taxpayers. By the time the bonds are repaid, it will cost $11 billion, Brough’s office states. The TCA needs to be shut down, while the Orange County Transportation Authority collects the tolls and finally pays down the bonds.
The TCA is wasteful and spent $35,000 for one dinner. TCA officials golf at $5,000 a round for four people. No government agency should be this out of control with spending; it is time they are held to account. Taxpayers deserve better.