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COUNTYWIDE : Fees on Projects Near Tollways May Rise

Officials planning Orange County’s three new tollways are considering increases in the fees paid by developers along the routes, which are expected to cost more than $2 billion when completed around the turn of the century.

The increase in fees is necessary to keep pace with inflation and ballooning estimates of construction costs for the three new highways, tollway officials say.

An increase of 39% is planned for the San Joaquin tollway, which is to run from San Juan Capistrano through the coastal foothills to the Corona del Mar Freeway in Newport Beach. For a single-family home close to the highway, the fee would rise from $2,023 to $2,822. A multiple-family dwelling would jump from $1,178 to $1,643.

A more modest 3% hike is proposed for the Eastern and Foothill tollways. A builder would be charged $2,399 for a single-family home, up from $2,327 previously. Multifamily units would rise from $1,359 to $1,401. The Eastern tollway is to connect the Riverside Freeway near the county border with the Santa Ana Freeway in Irvine and the Foothill Freeway is planned to serve Rancho Santa Margarita and other communities sprouting in rural eastern Orange County.

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The boards of the county’s Transportation Corridor Agencies, which are planning the tollways, will consider the fee hikes during a Jan. 10 meeting.

Developer fees finance nearly half the cost of the ambitious tollways, with the rest of the money coming from tolls that will be paid by motorists.


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