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Keeping Watch Over Tollway Agencies

October 16, 1994

Your Sunday editorial, "Agencies Must Clear Air Over Toll Roads" (Oct. 9) was a breath of fresh air to us who have labored against the San Joaquin toll road and the Orange County Transportation Corridor Agencies for its malevolences, half-truths and gross misrepresentations over the years since the days of the environmental impact reviews. Your article correctly states "the intention to collect tolls on the Newport Coast Drive, while there in fine print, was never fully or satisfactorily aired."

More than once the tollway agency misused the environmental review process by bypassing the need to include all mitigations on sensitive issues.

From the beginning the agency misled the taxpayers as to whom would fund the toll roads. "The taxpayers will never pick up the tab" assertion continued for many months until the acknowledgment that the developers' fees and future tolls would not complete the jobs.

The ensuing lawsuits against the agency would not have been as prolific if the agency had been aboveboard in its commitments.

The fact the federal government stepped in with financial help, not to mention the diversion of money from a Mello-Roos District by supervisors to help defray the debt by the Transportation Corridor Agencies, convinces many that they must watchdog government giveaways to the powerful Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Make no mistake, the toll roads are for future, unrestricted growth.

KAROLINE KOESTER, San Clemente

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