Road to Nowhere
On April 12, 2005, I attended what was billed as a "community meeting" by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and the Riverside Transportation Commission (RTC). The purpose of this meeting, held at the Community Center in San Juan Capistrano, was ostensibly to gather public input relative to the alternatives put forth by these two bodies for addressing transportation needs between Orange and Riverside counties over the next 20 - 30 years.
Sadly, of the twelve (12) alternatives jointly suggested by the OCTA and the RTC, NOT A SINGLE ONE included a MASS RAPID TRANSIT SYSTEM utilizing existing rights-of-way along the I-5/State Routes 55 & 91/I-15/State Route 78 loop. With a Light-Rail or other similar system extending from south Orange County, through Irvine, Tustin, Anaheim Hills, Corona, Temecula, Escondido, Vista, Oceanside, and back to south Orange County, this would be the OPTIMAL and LEAST COSTLY system to build, requiring little or no acquisition costs, property condemnation, or habitat destruction, since the existing infrastructure (i.e., freeway centerline right-of-way) is already in place.
Way back in 1973, as a graduate student in Systems Management at the University of Southern California, I wrote a term paper on this subject for my Systems Engineering class. It is interesting to note that, some 30 years later, a similar concept has been incorporated in Los Angeles, specifically a light rail route down the center of State Route 105 (the Century Freeway), from LAX to Norwalk. A readily available visual inspection, from the standpoint of passenger utilization and alleviation of automobile traffic congestion along State Route 105, reveals how successful this system has become in just a few years.
With the ever-increasing cost of gasoline, commuting to and from work by automobile is becoming less and less desirable, and mass rapid transit is becoming the only sensible option. Unless we are the CEO of a major oil company, or a big stockholder in one, there is absolutely no rationale for helping further maximize already outrageous oil company profits.
Yet, Orange County and Riverside County transportation bureaucrats refuse to consider any system other than more roads and highways, including the construction of cost-prohibitive and habitat-destructive traffic corridors that would entail tunnelling through the Cleveland National Forest! The conclusion here is inescapable. When we have individuals on committees and commissions who are appointed not because of WHAT they know, but rather WHO they know, the results of their efforts are quite predictable. Incompetent individuals will inevitably create flawed results.
Clearly, what we need is to elect HONEST and TRUSTWORTHY individuals to local government who will, in turn, appoint COMPETENT individuals to positions of responsibility. Only then will the transportation needs of Orange and Riverside counties be adequately addressed.
Former Laguna Niguel City Councilman
Candidate for Orange County Board of Supervisors (5th District)
"A Voice --- Not an Echo"