Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Foothill-South 241 Toll Road Fails to Meet Criteria for Bush Administration Override

Elected Officials and Save San Onofre Coalition Voice Strong Opposition To Toll Road Through San Onofre State Beach

DEL MAR, Calif., Sept 22, 2008 In an eight-plus hour event and with more than 3,000 toll road opponents in attendance, state and local elected officials and members of the Save San Onofre Coalition spoke before three Bush Administration officials overseeing a Commerce Department hearing on the Foothill-South Toll Road.

"The people of Orange and San Diego Counties reject this road," commented Bobby Shriver, Santa Monica Councilman and former president of the California State Park and Recreation Commission. "They have proved that by showing up in huge numbers at the Parks Commission hearings, at the Coastal Commission hearing and again today at the Commerce Department hearing."

Testimony focused on how the toll road fails to meet the Commerce Department's specific criteria to overturn the California Coastal Commission's Feb. 2008 decision against the project. Some notables testifying included: California State Treasurer Bill Lockyer; State Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego); Santa Monica Councilman Bobby Shriver; Irvine Councilman Larry Agran, who as a TCA board member cast a vote against the proposed toll road alignment; and San Diego Councilwoman Donna Frye.

"There is no compelling national interest to over-ride the California Coastal Commission, the toll road fails to meet the criteria for an override, and the proposed toll road's adverse impacts outweigh the purported and questionable benefits of this project," Lockyer stated in his testimony at today's hearing. "Reasonable alternatives exist that both TCA and the Federal Highway Administration have refused to explore adequately."

"No credible basis exists to believe the TCA's 11th hour claim that its project is essential to national security. The Marine Corps has publicly rejected the claim, presumably because running a toll road through Camp Pendleton would inevitably impede, not improve, our military readiness," added Lockyer.

"The TCA and the politicians comprising its board provided no new information that supports a Bush Administration override of the State of California," stated Elizabeth Goldstein, president of the California State Parks Foundation and member of the Save San Onofre Coalition. "For the TCA, a single-purpose agency focused solely on building and operating toll roads, to select a route through the 5th most popular state park in California is a bad idea...one that must be stopped."

Big Props to all those who went to the hearing!!!

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