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Elevated Tollway Loan Sets New Low

March 06, 1994

* Absolutely amazing! Just when you think that government waste can't get any worse, we find a local example that sets a new standard. Our own Orange County Transportation Agency is going to cut services to youth groups and the elderly but simultaneously give $12.5 million to private companies, including (one led by billionaire Ross Perot's son).

These poor, needy companies are asking for help because private investors are not stupid enough to put up money for design work and an environmental impact report on their pet project--an elevated tollway that would run down the middle of the most important flood control channel in Orange County, through alluvial soils subject to liquefaction, only a few miles from the epicenter of the devastating 1933 Long Beach earthquake.

After watching the devastation of collapsed freeways in Southern California and floods in the Midwest, would you risk your money on the chance of combining the two by building an elevated tollway above the Santa Ana River? If you like this kind of opportunity, maybe we can interest you in a building on the Cal State Northridge campus that was just reinforced to meet the latest standards of design for seismic safety. Luckily, the county staff is preparing a "due diligence" report to make sure that this is a sound use of taxpayer money, even though this sham loan will probably never be repaid.

I suggest that the county staff answer one question as part of their report: When this tollway collapses, and half of Orange County is destroyed by the ensuing flood damage, can the district attorney ask for the death penalty for the planners and the OCTA board for premeditated murder?

GUS AYER

Fountain Valley

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