The Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) is currently evaluating 7 different options to alleviate traffic congestion along the I-5 freeway in South Orange County (narrowed down from 20). Four of those options being considered are toll road options, including #9 and #18, which will negatively impact the communities of Ladera Ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, and Mission Viejo. Our coalition strongly opposes Options #9 and #18 for the following reasons:
– DOES NOT PROVIDE REGIONAL MOBILITY RELIEF to the North-South traffic congestion on I-5 Freeway in South Orange County. It’s an EAST-WEST Route.
– GROSSLY EXPENSIVE- Current estimates put the cost at a minimum of $1 BILLION Dollars. Tunneling would cost additional $500 MILLION.*
– PROPERTY VALUES WOULD DECREASE significantly and as a result property tax revenue would decrease for the County of Orange.
– THREATENS COUNTLESS ENDANGERED SPECIES- Would destroy pristine habitat for native plants, endangered species, and other wildlife on The Reserve of Rancho Mission Viejo. 20+ year partnership between Rancho Mission Viejo, the County of Orange, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, California Department of Fish and Game and the environmental community. This would create significant concern from Wildlife agencies, NGO’s, and citizens alike.
– DECIMATE A FEDERALLY PROTECTED RESERVE- The US Department of Fish and Wildlife states this land is to be kept in its natural state.
– LAND IS GEOLOGICALLY UNSTABLE- Costly landslides have occurred in the federally protected reserve as recently as 20 years ago, per the California Geological Survey.
– REQUIRES EXTENSIVE USE OF EMINENT DOMAIN and inevitably of inverse condemnation.-
– SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO ALL AREA WATERSHEDS during and after construction including: Lower Trabuco Creek, San Juan Creek and Horno Basin (a federally-protected wetlands habitat).
– DESTRUCTION OF OPEN SPACE AND TRAILS.
– MASSIVE flyover connector in the already impacted area of the I-5 and Avery Parkway
– Biological noise, air emissions, visual aesthetics, and other CEQA related impacts will be significant and likely cannot be reasonably mitigated.
– Construction on top of a petroleum pipeline, may lead to serious environmental hazards, some of which may take years to detect. Resolving land use/easement issues with this petroleum pipeline and the SCE transmission line corridor would be an expensive legal exercise.
– Only Toll Road Options that affect 5 separate communities (Ladera Ranch, Rancho Mission Viejo, San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, and Laguna Niguel)
(*) Source: Get Moving OC Forum #2 – October 5, 2016