California to get say in toll road plan

| Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pending approval at the federal level, California could yet have its say in the proposed construction of a toll road in Orange and San Diego counties that runs partially through a state park.

Legislation written by Rep. Susan Davis, D-CA, cleared a House-Senate conference committee this past week and is now part of the defense appropriations bill.

Once the bill is signed into law, the amendment would remove an exemption approved by Congress in 1979 that bars the California state legislature from any involvement in the portion of the toll road that is on federal property.

Davis said in a news release that the toll road – which would extend Route 241 by 16 miles through San Onofre State Park – would have a “devastating impact” on the environment at the park.

She said there no reason the toll road “should have received a special exemption from the standard process and environmental safeguards.”

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that backers of the toll road aren’t happy about the amendment, claiming it could expose the project to attacks from state legislators.

Supporters of the project have vowed to move forward even if the amendment passes.

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