Foothill-South Toll Road Foes Call Bullshit on TCA's Jobs Creation and Economic Stimulus Ploy

Categories: 241 Toll Road
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Foes of the 241 Foothill-South toll road carving through San Clemente are calling bullshit on the Transportation Corridor Agency's latest ploy to win public support: propping up their unpopular project as a statewide job creator, economic stimulus and deficit buster.

At the South Orange County Chamber of Commerce's State of the Chamber breakfast Wednesday morning, the TCA trotted out an economic benefits analysis it commissioned from "independent" research and consulting firm Beacon Economics that concluded design and construction of the 16-mile route would create 13,663 jobs in OC and 3,800 more statewide.

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Campbell: Build it, and cars will come.
"At a time when the federal government is looking to stimulate jobs through investing in infrastructure, the good news is that we have a project right here that can make a real difference for families in Southern California," boomed Bill Campbell, the Orange County supervisor who chairs the Foothill/Eastern TCA.

As a supervisor, Campbell finds himself at odds with county union workers when it comes to protecting their jobs and retirements. But for the dog and phony show before chamber suck-ups, Campbell back slapped Jim Adams, council representative for the LA/OC Building and Construction Trades Council, which is bully on getting its members jobs tearing up some of the county's most pristine wild lands.

"Our members can't afford to be without work any longer," Adams bemoaned. "We need to do all we can to find local and regional projects in both the public and private sectors that can stimulate employment. Our unions look forward to working with business organizations and community leadership to advance the 241 toward completion."

The report from Beacon, which has offices in Los Angeles and San Francisco, also claims:

  • Extension of the 241 will generate $121 million in tax revenue to state and local government between now and completion of the project;

  • It will create nearly $160 million annually in local and state tax revenue thereafter;

  • It will generate more than $3 billion in economic output in California.

"In this economy, with millions out of work throughout this state, anyone with an ability to create a job has a duty to do so," barked Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council.

She blathers on, "It is clear that this study supports the well-settled rule that building infrastructure can kick-start an economy into high gear. Take note elected leaders and regulators! No more delays. Build and complete the 241 and ease traffic on the 5, move our workers and products, our visitors and families, and create jobs now!"

Damn, cue the Wagner already, Lucy.

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Photo by Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Actually, there's something interesting in that last bit: easing traffic on the San Diego (5) Freeway. Because, when it comes to creating jobs, stimulating the economy and getting more bang for your bucks like those people who want government running like a business like to say, simply widening the 5 would accomplish the same goals.
 
Matt McClain, director of marketing and communications with the Surfrider Foundation, sent the Weekly the following response to the TCA's strategy of dangling jobs and the economy in front of the public in an attempt to revive the left-for-dead Foothill-South toll road extension.

During the 2008 California Coastal Commission consistency hearing in Del Mar, Transportation Corridor Agencies CEO Tom Margro himself testified that the estimated amount of labor required for a widening of the existing I-5 was at least comparable to, if not greater than, the proposed extension to SR-241. By stymying the I-5 widening project in favor of the SR-241 extension, the TCA are not only inhibiting job growth, they are continuing to pursue more costly and less effective solutions to South Orange County's traffic woes.  


To support this view, McClain provided links to a couple other reports. One, from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Authority, shows how projects comparable to widening the I-5 through South Orange County can create jobs. The second, from 2008 and the San Joaquin Hills TCA itself, shits on the idea of widening the 5 vs. extending the Foothill-South.

"In the face of job-creating prospects such as the I-5 widening project," McClain says, "the public should be asking why do local governments continue to allow the TCA to maintain non-competative agreements that prevent us from pursuing these opportunities?"

Perhaps the TCA will answer that in their next report.

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9 comments
The TCA sucks!
The TCA sucks!

Hahaha...more sour grapes from the TCA, huh?  When will they accept the fact that SoCal residents don't want another of their asphalt money pits?  Their previous debacle (the 73 toll road) didn't do shit to ease traffic.  Other than losing money hand over fist, it's done nothing but act as a catalyst for more development...and, yes, more traffic.  Damn, those TCA hucksters are such a joke!

20ftJesus
20ftJesus

"...tearing up some of the county's most pristine wild lands."

O' spare me. 

OrangeCrushedIt
OrangeCrushedIt

Okay California, go ahead and widen the I-5... Use all that money you have sitting in your coffers.  What's that?  You're broke?  no money for freeway widening projects?  No money for condemnation of hundreds of homes and businesses. 

Sucks to be a commuter through South OC.

mitch young
mitch young

Once again, the 'progressive' values of environmental protection and open-borders immigration clash.  

People got to live somewhere, and increasingly that is inland as only the super rich can live on the coast (and their servants who live 2-3-4 families to single family dwelling). What's left of the native-born middle class, white or Latino, refuses to live in a barrio or little Saigon type environment. More people (which now essentially means more immigrants and their children) means more development. So we need arteries heading inland, I-5 widening ain't going to meet that goal (aside from the other problems such a project has)

909Jeff
909Jeff

WHOA... all that scrub sage and wild grass that dies and turns a gross brown for 9 months out of the year is absolutely beautiful!!!

909Jeff
909Jeff

Dude... It sucks to be a commuter anywhere in so-cal!

909Jeff
909Jeff

another sucker falls for my ruse!

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