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Deukmejian Defends Proposed Toll Roads for Orange County

September 13, 1987|JEFFREY A. PERLMAN | Times Urban Affairs Writer

SACRAMENTO — Gov. George Deukmejian defended Orange County's proposed toll roads Saturday, although he has not yet signed the bill authorizing them.

While indicating during a press conference here that he needs to review the legislation before signing it, the governor said he does not consider toll roads "revolutionary" for California as some have suggested.

Asked whether he will become the first California governor to legalize toll roads, Deukmejian noted that this state has had toll bridges for years and other states have had toll roads.

He added that the bill sent to his desk by the Legislature on Friday provides for turnpikes that generally would serve as "an alternate route" to the congested "free freeway."

"So a choice would be there," the governor said. "Motorists could use it and pay a toll if they really wanted to, but they really wouldn't be forced to do so."

A 15-member advisory panel is scheduled to recommend a toll road route on Sept. 25 in Orange County. The routes being studied are the San Joaquin, Foothill and Eastern planned freeway corridors in south Orange County.

The three new highways are being planned to relieve traffic on the Riverside, Costa Mesa, Santa Ana and San Diego freeways.

Recently enacted federal legislation named Orange County as one of seven sites nationally for a demonstration toll road project, eligible for 35% federal funding.

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