Plans to Study Traffic Relief Options in South Orange County Move Forward

F/ETCA Board of Directors approve items to start the formal environmental review of 16 transportation mobility project

IRVINE, Calif. - December 8, 2016

At its regularly scheduled board meeting, the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency (F/ETCA) approved two items related to improving south Orange County mobility. These items allow the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) to proceed with the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans) required environmental review and engineering process to evaluate 16 transportation mobility projects proposed by the public to alleviate traffic congestion in the region.

Last month, TCA settled five outstanding lawsuits with the Save San Onofre Coalition, as well as additional parties, clearing the path for this process to move forward. The settlement specifically:

  • Restricts TCA from building or funding a project within an area that includes San Onofre State Beach, the Richard and Donna O’Neill Conservancy and other critical open space, wildlife habitat and cultural resources in the San Mateo Creek watersheds
  • Requires TCA establish a $28 million conservation fund to help preserve and restore San Mateo Creek and its watershed as mitigation for a new alternative

“This is a significant milestone toward relieving traffic congestion for so many of our residents and commuters,” said Lisa Bartlett, F/ETCA Vice Chair and Orange County Supervisor, 5th District.  “Through a very deliberate public engagement process, we have hosted two public forums and solicited the community for input to establish their priorities and identify community-based solutions that will provide much needed traffic relief on our roads and freeways.” 

The results of this initial process will determine which alternatives will be carried forward through the formal environmental process required under the National Environmental Policy Act and the California Environmental Quality Act.

TCA will continue to engage in a stakeholder-driven community outreach process with elected officials, local and regional representatives, state transportation planning agencies, environmental leaders and the public to improve south Orange County mobility.

[Editor’s Note:] The Save San Onofre Coalition comprises the following 12 California and national environmental organizations: Audubon California, California Coastal Protection Network, California State Parks Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, Endangered Habitats League, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., Natural Resources Defense Council, Orange County Coastkeeper, Sea and Sage Audubon Society, Sierra Club, Surfrider Foundation and WiLDCOAST/COASTALVAjE.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) are two joint powers authorities formed by the California legislature in 1986 to plan, finance, construct and operate Orange County’s public toll road system. Fifty-one miles of the system are complete, including the 73, 133, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. More than three hundred thousand people from all over Southern California use TCA’s toll roads each day.  Elected officials from surrounding cities and county supervisorial districts are appointed to serve on each agency’s board of directors. Public oversight ensures that the interests of local communities and drivers are served and that TCA continues to meet the region’s growing need for congestion-free transportation alternatives.

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