For years there has been tremendous conflict between advocates and opponents of whether or not to build the controversial San Joaquin Hills Freeway. In the past, the county supervisors and Transportation Commission have been evaluating various options (with no success) to finance three new freeways. Apparently the road planners have finally discovered the secret weapon (toll road) to solve their dilemma with the aid of Assemblyman Nolan Frizzelle, who has been applying pressure on the state Legislature to approve his toll-road bill for Orange County.
Within the next few months the Orange County Transportation Commission will receive recommendations by a task force for approval of a pay-as-you-go freeway route in Orange County. This may come as a surprise to voters who had assumed they had solved the problem with the defeat of Proposition A (1-cent sales tax).
The toll road, if approved, will unequivocally place a financial burden on the residents and, for obvious reasons, is not a satisfactory alternative. Freeways are magnets for commercial and industrial development which can only aggravate traffic congestion, air and noise pollution.
The real question is: Why was Orange County selected to become the victim of a $1-billion toll-road headache? The answer is simple. The San Joaquin Hills Freeway is virtually essential to the Irvine Co. It provides the only access to their multimillion-dollar private estates on Pelican Hills Road.
The availability of federal money for the construction of a freeway is no longer sufficient reason to build it. The law now requires the freeway builders to show that the need for the freeway outweighs the damage which it inevitably will do to the urban environment.
IDA Z. WILLIAMS