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Orange County

$42 Million Is OKd for Tollway Projects

June 13, 2003|Denise M. Bonilla | Times Staff Writer

The Transportation Corridor Agencies on Thursday approved spending nearly $42 million in toll road improvement projects as part of next year's $221-million budget but opted not to pay for terrorism insurance because of the cost.

The new projects include widening Trabuco Creek Bridge just north of the Santa Margarita Parkway onramp to the Foothill toll road and building an auxiliary lane on the offramp to ease congestion on the southbound toll road.

In addition, engineering design work is to begin on the second phase of the Glenwood/Pacific Park interchange on the San Joaquin Hills toll road in Aliso Viejo.

The Irvine-based TCA consists of two joint powers -- the San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor Agency and the Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor. Together they are responsible for 51 miles of toll roads in Orange County.

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday June 19, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 2 inches; 89 words Type of Material: Correction
Toll road agency -- An article in some editions of Friday's California section about a new budget for the Transportation Corridor Agencies in Orange County incorrectly reported that $42 million was approved for toll road improvement projects next year. The board approved spending $14.6 million on new projects next year, raising the total value of projects that will be underway to $42 million. The article also incorrectly reported that the Trabuco Creek Bridge project is north of the Santa Margarita Parkway onramp. It is north of the parkway offramp.

The San Joaquin agency plans to spend $82.5 million next year, a 4% decrease over last year. The more profitable Foothill/Eastern agency approved $138.5 million in spending, a 3% increase. Total revenue for the agencies is budgeted at $210.5 million.

The $10.5-million discrepancy between revenue and spending, the TCA said, is due to capitalized interest debt payments. The agencies' $20 million in capitalized interest can be used only for specific interest payments on bond debt and cannot be budgeted as revenue, TCA Public Affairs Manager Clare Climaco said.

The toll road agencies also voted to forgo specific terrorism insurance coverage on its roads. After the Sept. 11 attacks, the TCA's insurers began excluding terrorism coverage from its policies. It was offered again after federal law mandated that companies offer the coverage, but the high cost of premiums and low risk to the toll roads led the TCA to hold off at this time, Climaco said.

The TCA decided not to increase toll rates next year, although a study on traffic and revenue due in July could still affect rates.

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