As a home builder who has developed numerous affordable housing projects for first-time buyers in Southern California over the past 20 years, I would like to now respond to the defeat of Measure A, the proposed slow-growth initiative.
My confidence in the voters was confirmed by the defeat of this measure last June because it meant that they realized the crippling effect such a measure would have on the county (loss of jobs, reduction of funds generated by builders for new roads and loss of tax revenue for the county). I also believe that voters realize that managed growth is healthy for the economy.
The fact that the measure was even on the ballot spurred the development industry to come up with solutions to fight the horrendous traffic problem--the catalyst that prompted Measure A. The industry realizes that the funds generated by developers each year for the building of new roads isn't enough. We must become actively involved in creating solutions.
Here are some of the ways in which we've already begun to work on solving the traffic problem:
Sponsoring self-imposed sensible growth plans that include limiting the number of building permits issued until the project's infrastructure is in place. Traffic congestion can be eased by building roadways before developments are inhabited.
Establishing the Growth Management Plan by a group of concerned developers and citizens who plan for balanced growth. Effective solutions can be developed through this type of synergistic relationship.
Creating Transportation Corridors Agencies, under which developers will generate 48% of the funds needed to create the San Joaquin Hills, Eastern and Foothill freeways. Additional funds will be provided through federal funding and tolls.
Forming the Traffic Reduction Incentives Program, which calls for solutions to the escalating traffic situation by working within the confines of current conditions. Car pools, staggered work hours and diamond lanes fall under this program.
Creating a dialogue between developers and community groups, such as the Industrial Leagues and chambers of commerce, to establish and maintain communication and anticipate the community's needs.
This is only the beginning of our working with the community to solve the traffic problems. As a commuter who daily travels from my home in Huntington Beach to my office in Costa Mesa, I understand the frustrations shared by those who use our freeway system. I, as much as anyone, would like an instant solution to this complex problem. However, as the voters discovered, the answer is not so simple.
I look forward to the day when our combined efforts result in freedom from freeway congestion and the end to our frustrations.