Toll Road to Ruin, Chapter 11

This month Orange County's bumbling Transportation Corridors Agency (TCA) devised yet another new plan to solve its continual financial disaster woes: The government agency wants to change its name to the Transportation Corridor System (TCS).

Oh, and one other minor detail: They also want to spend an additional $4.7 BILLION in "speculative grade" debt for the 11-year-old 73 Toll Road that slices through Costa Mesa, Newport Beach, Irvine and Laguna Beach on the way south to I5.

Bend over baby: You're going to be paying even higher tolls!

A more accurate name for the new agency would be the Transportation Corridor Money Pit (TCMP) or the Agency for the Subtle Subsidization of Billionaire Real Estate Elitist Developers (ASSBREED), an explanation to follow.

In 1997, the Weekly predicted the 16-mile road would be a financial nightmare for at least four decades while the TCA, local politicians like Dana Rohrabacher and Chris Cox, the LA Times and the OC Register hailed the project as an international model. At one point, the Times put its banners on all the toll booths as a sign of support.

The mainstream media-political-corporate alliance that shilled for the 73 is one of the greatest frauds in OC history. At one point the road was supposed to cost less than $500 million. If the TCA borrows more money from Wall Street, the final cost of the project could someday easily exceed $15 billion. Talk about cost overruns...

The toll road was sold to the public as a way to decrease traffic congestion on the 405 and 5 freeways. It was a lie. The road was built at the request of Irvine Co. boss and political giant Donald Bren and his real estate development pals.

If the road has accomplished anything, it's this: it allowed Bren & Co. to green light dozens and dozens of residential and commercial projects they planned next to the passage. Massive amounts of new traffic from those developments quickly caused congestion on the road that was supposed to end congestion. Duh.

The same brain trust that sold us the 73 toll road wants to build another 16-mile toll road in South County.

If officials at the TCA, TCS, TCMP or ASSBREED continue their push for another publicly financed, private owned road (Wall Street investment houses are the owners until they bleed the road dry), at least be honest. It won't be to alleviate traffic. It will be to build more cookie cutter homes.


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