All of us who live in Orange County and travel its thoroughfares daily are acutely aware of the serious traffic congestion that plagues many of our roads and freeways.
The truly sensible approach to solving the county's current traffic problem is to address both the demand side and supply side of the transportation equation. We must curtail peak demand on transportation facilities by employing measures such as alternate work schedules and ride-sharing.
We must expand the capacity of existing roads and freeways as well as build new ones. During my tenure on the Board of Supervisors, I have championed both transportation demand management strategies and critically needed circulation improvements.
Furthermore, I remain steadfast in my commitment to solving the county's transportation problems without passing the bill along to the already-overburdened taxpayer. Therefore, allow me this opportunity to set the record straight on my vote in support of the Laguna Laurel agreement with the Irvine Co.
This agreement provides the last major segment of right of way needed to construct the San Joaquin Hills Corridor, which is sorely needed to alleviate congestion on the Santa Ana and San Diego freeways. Under the Laguna Laurel land-use plan, more than 70% of the total acreage involved will be devoted to open space and recreational uses. In addition, critical safety improvements will be made on treacherous Laguna Canyon Road to abate the carnage now taking place on that highway.
Besides the Laguna Laurel agreement, I have supported other agreements that together ensure completion of more than 250 land miles of critically needed new roads in south county and commit developers to fund more than $300 million in transportation and public safety improvements. These agreements incorporate previously adopted land-use plans, and all include a development phasing design that links building with road completion milestones. No new entitlements to build homes or office space were granted. These agreements provide a comprehensive growth management plan for south county and the foundation for a growth management plan for the entire county.
When I joined two other supervisors in voting for the Laguna Laurel agreement, I did so out of conviction that the public facilities obtained from the private sector would best serve the needs of the entire county. Today, despite considerable political fallout, I remain convinced that the agreement represents sound public policy. I stand by my vote.
HARRIETT M. WIEDER
Board of Supervisors