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Environmental Toll Is Too High

January 06, 1991

As a citizen of Laguna Niguel, I oppose the San Joaquin Toll Road because it is going to bring more cars, noise and pollution while causing ecological destruction.

I attended the hearing in Laguna Hills and saw and heard for myself how the toll road would affect South Orange County. The testimony I heard from the public was overwhelmingly in favor of the "no project" alternative, while the (Transportation Corridor Agency) described the toll road "hugging" the condominiums and townhouses off the Crown Valley Parkway. I am appalled at their idea that the toll road can hug a housing community of flesh and blood people.

The following statements strengthen my stance against this project:

* The citizens of Orange County have never voted for the concept of a toll road.

* The environmental impact report is outdated and wholly inadequate. One environmental engineer referred to the EIR as Swiss cheese . . . full of holes.

* A study has never been done to determine the cumulative impact of all three toll roads.

* This toll road is not a solution but an expensive, glorified on-off ramp for the San Diego Freeway. Is it realistic that commuters will pay $2.50 or more to go one or two exits or even just the 14 miles?

I implore you to weigh the supposed benefits of the toll road to the known negative impacts, environmental as well as cultural. Despite the option of "no project," this option has never been addressed. One gentleman referred to the steamroller of bureaucracy. Despite the rules of the California Environmental Quality Act/National Environmental Protection Act, which allow for public input and standard of procedure, these rules are not abided by except in a very perfunctory way.

We are in an era of changing circumstances. I refer to the passage of Measure M, which will improve streets and the El Toro Y. We are in a new awareness. According to The Times, 80% of the people answered a survey that they would like to see rail introduced as a solution to traffic problems. A toll road or additional freeway would only encourage our "car" habits.

When I first moved here, Laguna Niguel license plates proudly displayed "Laguna Niguel--Sea Country." We are no longer country. Please do not damage our quality of life further by encouraging the building of the toll road, thus committing country-cide.

DONNA D. MARTIN, Laguna Niguel

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