Toll Road Rage: Green(back) Alignment

Not So Easy Being Green


 

And so it came to pass that the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) unveiled their final solution to traffic congestion on Dec. 6. Last year TCA released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement; now they've released the Subsequent Environmental Impact Report, based on DEIR feedback. While various state and government agencies dissect it for flaws, I'd like to point out something nice about the announcement: it was utterly and completely predictable.

TCA's preferred alignment is the modified Far East Crossover, running through the entirety of the San Onofre State Beach. It will compromise surfing at Trestles; threaten a dozen endangered species; and facilitate the poisoning of the air, the San Mateo Creek and the ocean. Yet TCA thinks it's an environmentally friendly road.

Bob Aul illustration
Bob Aul illustration

We should have known something was up when TCA changed their website (formerly thetollroads.com) to tcagencies.com and reworked their color scheme. Previously, various shades and hues of blue dominated the site. However, in recent weeks they've switched to earthier tones, with some tan and brown but predominantly green.

Then there's the rigamarole involved in getting your hands on this new report. TCA's verdant website lists a number to call for copies of the SEIR; dial the number, and you'll hear a voice answer, "Foothill-South Environmental Desk."

It takes more than a green website to have green sentiments. It takes more than an environmental desk to be environmentally sensitive. TCA's idea of environmental study smacks more of knowing thy enemy than protecting our natural resources. Still, opponents of the road, which include the State Parks and Recreation Department, the attorney general, the Sierra Club and the JuaneŮo Band of Mission Indians, among many others, have known for months that TCA would pick the San Mateo Creek alignment. Why? All the alignments were color-coded when TCA first announced them, and the Far East Crossover is the Green Alternative.

 
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