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The Rocky Roads of O.C.'s Tollways

July 14, 2002

Re "Tollway Trial at a Dead End in California," July 7:

Thank goodness we are finally starting to see some sanity in south Orange County. I have lived in San Clemente since 1972, and it pains me to see the growth we are experiencing. I cannot hold the people who move to my beautiful city in ill opinion, as everyone I know and meet loves this place. But when I drive over the hills and look at Talega, I see ugly urban sprawl where there once was beautiful land.

It seems that growth is, to a certain point, inevitable. But we do not need to completely ravage the beautiful San Mateo Valley. These areas are quickly disappearing in Southern California, and we are extremely fortunate that this experiment was a failure. Once these areas are ruined, they will remain so. We need to protect them.

Thomas Carter

San Clemente

*

Turnpikes in the eastern United States are widely accepted because the tolls are fair and equitable, based on the distance that the motorist travels. That is not the case with the toll roads in Orange County.

For example, on the San Joaquin Hills tollway, a northbound motorist entering at Laguna Canyon and exiting at the next exit, Newport Coast Drive, pays the same toll as the motorist who drives the entire length of the toll road simply because the main toll plaza is between the Laguna Canyon and Newport Coast exits. That is neither fair nor equitable. I would submit it is the principal reason for the dramatic drop in traffic volume on the weekends and during off-peak hours.

The solution is not to continue to increase tolls; the solution is a fair and equitable pricing structure based on the distance a motorist travels.

Bill Alsnauer

Aliso Viejo

*

I never did like the idea of having to pay more and more for the use of the toll road. Maybe that's because so few people use them. Plus, on the Riverside Freeway we could use the room for a carpool lane. I heard they wanted to build more of these toll roads, charge us more and also destroy part of the beach. Let's see, charge us more and more, take up needed freeway space, destroy the beach. I'm glad they're having trouble.

Melissa Tracy

Huntington Beach

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It was great to see The Times' July 7 coverage of the toll roads debacle. The noncompete agreements are a particular outrage, but the whole idea of privately built roads is problematic. They were not built for the greatest convenience of the public, but to optimize profits (at least that was the theory, which didn't work out too well). Some of these roads have been stuffed down the unwilling throats of the local communities. The sooner these become public property, the better. Unlike some, I would much rather pay taxes to create and maintain roads built by and for the public than provide profits for a self-serving company that has no interest except in the bottom line.

Grace Bertalot

Anaheim

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