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OCTA-Backed Disney Project Goofy

August 07, 1994

* Orwell would love it. Sarah Catz, the "public member" of the Orange County Transportation Authority, is actually chosen by the elected board members, and as such is the only voting member not accountable to the public.

Her Op-Ed piece ("Transit Center Is a Win-Win Project for the Public and Disney," July 31), which defends their attempt to spend our gas taxes on the Disney garage, seems a bit late. The OCTA did not mention the garage last November when they approved the I-405/SR-55 interchange project without comment. Les Berriman, a Drivers for Highway Safety member who regularly attends OCTA meetings, noticed that the project had, for no apparent reason, inflated from about $300 million to $533 million. in less than a year. When he asked about this, no board member would admit to knowing why. After two months and some effort, he finally obtained a staff report revealing that $219 million had been added to the project to pay for Disney's garage.

The OCTA sales pitch might have worked better in November, before they were caught trying to sneak the project through. Now skeptics could say it looks a lot like pay-back for the millions Disney spent to pass the Measure M tax increase.

BILL WARD

Costa Mesa

* While OCTA chases after federal funding for car-pool lanes, light rail and seven-story parking garages, it has canceled several bus routes, cut back service on others and will soon discontinue the Dial-a-Ride service for seniors because of lack of money. It sounds as though what it really lacks are proper priorities. It is time for OCTA to go back to basics and attract commuters to mass transit by improving bus service rather than eliminating it.

T.A. SCHENACH

Huntington Beach

* I wonder if voters who approved transportation funding measures ever dreamed their taxes would be used to build a $400-million parking structure for Disneyland? I hope the grand jury looks into this misuse of public funds.

LAURA YEOMAN

Anaheim

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