California commission to vote on toll road through state park

| 2/5/2008

The California Coastal Commission is planning to accommodate at least 1,000 people expected to show up to a public meeting about a proposed toll road through state parkland.

The commission is scheduled to meet Wednesday, Feb. 6, in Del Mar, CA, to review and vote on an application by Transportation Corridor Agencies to build and toll a 16-mile extension of state Route 241 on a route that goes through parkland along the San Onofre State Beach.

The proposed $875-million extension – dubbed the Foothills Transportation South Toll Road – has been the subject of controversy for the past decade. Environmental groups, surf organizations and area residents oppose it because the roadway would bisect pristine parkland that attracts one million visitors annually.

Planners say the extension will give travelers some relief from congestion on Interstate 5.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger had been neutral on the toll-road issue, but spoke recently in favor of the proposal.

The commission will either issue an environmental permit – one of the seven state and federal permits required – or send the planners back to the drawing board. If and when all of the environmental permits are obtained, the Federal Highway Administration must sign off on the project.

The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. at Wyland Hall at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, 2260 Jimmy Durante Blvd, Del Mar, CA. Commissioners moved the meeting site from the City Council chambers in Oceanside to the fairgrounds to accommodate the anticipated crowd.

People wishing to speak must sign up at the meeting site. Click here for the rules about speaking and submitting materials to the commission.

Click here to read the commission agenda. The toll road is listed as agenda item 8(b).

– By David Tanner, staff writer