GOP Rep. Darrell Issa. Photo by Chris Stone

The head of the agency that oversees toll roads in Orange County sent a letter to Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, Wednesday that said Issa’s concerns about an extension of the 241 toll road through southern Orange County were premature.

Issa sent a letter to the agency last week arguing that any extension of toll roads to relieve congestion on the San Diego (5) Freeway would divide communities.

“While recent proposals may be well-intentioned to help ease traffic congestion on a notoriously packed section of I-5, the routes proposed today would effectively divide several of our cherished local communities,” Issa said in the letter dated Friday.

“If allowed to move forward, the proposed routes risk destroying the very character of the communities that have drawn so many of us to call this area our home,” the congressman said. “The current proposals … should therefore be rejected outright.”

San Clemente City Council members in May considered hiring consultants to draw visual simulations of traffic relief solutions that have been proposed in public meetings seeking input on the I-5 problem.

Ed Sachs, chairman of the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, wrote a letter to Issa dated Wednesday that said any of the proposals submitted from the public so far will undergo lengthy vetting.

“Working with our regional transportation partners, we have embarked on a multi-year outreach effort to obtain ideas from the public for traffic relief solutions,” Sachs wrote.

“Some of these ideas may have merit and some may not. Over the next few years, these ideas will be analyzed using not only metrics and data for traffic relief and environmental impacts, but also technically evaluated for impacts and benefits to neighborhoods, schools and parks with each alternative that is studied.

“It is unfortunate that some have chosen to spread misinformation about the public’s ideas before they have been given a chance for consideration through this technical evaluation. Since these studies are only in the initiation phase, it would be premature at this time to render a conclusive judgement on any of the ideas proposed by the public.”

Sachs ended his letter by saying traffic divided communities, not roads.

— City News Service

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