I-405 Widening Controversy Continues *(Amended)
In recent correspondence to the Costa Mesa City Council Public Works Director Ernesto Munoz expressed concern for the way the revised proposals for the widening of the I-405 Freeway from Costa Mesa to the 605 Freeway is shaking out.
OCTA'S VERSION OF OPPOSITION
Apparently the OCTA Board, at its meeting on August 13th, saw a presentation that focused on the OCTA's efforts to address various comments received from cities along the corridor. According to Munoz, "they outlined what 'they felt' are the key issues for each city. The Fairview Bridge was presented as 'the Costa Mesa issue', and OCTA staff indicated they felt Costa Mesa's concerns were being addressed through a new alternative (Alt. 3-A) to start the toll lanes north of the Fairview bridge, south of the Harbor bridge, to avoid it's reconstruction, and construction of the SR-73 connector." He continued with his summary by stating, "They went over their perceived concerns for each City but there was no mention as to the fact that the Cities along the corridor are united in their opposition to Alt. 3 and in support of Alt. 2, and that resolutions have been adopted by all opposing Alt. 3."
ALTERNATIVE 3-A DOESN'T CUT IT
In his remarks to the Board Munoz mentioned that "while Costa Mesa is appreciative of the staff's efforts to address the City's concerns, they fall short of what the real impacts would be." He went on to mention Mayor's letter of July 31st, from the six cities, and how all concerns had been articulated in the letter (since OCTA staff at no point mentioned this letter). He also stated "that while Alt. 3-A is a step forward, Costa Mesa remained opposed to the toll lane option as has been communicated to the Board in the Mayor's letter." He also mentioned the "impacts associated with the sound walls to the neighborhood by Moon Park as additional impacts by any of the alternatives that needed to be addressed". Apparently a couple Board members questioned him and expressed some dissatisfaction with his comments as they felt Costa Mesa's concerns were being addressed.
MOORLACH EXPRESSES CONCERN ABOUT TOLL OPTION
Munoz also said that John Moorlach, a director on the Board, expressed concerns over the toll option and asked "whether OCTA may be exposed to litigation" since the toll alternative was not part of what the voters had approved.
AMANTE WANTS ALT 3-A DISCUSSED WITH CITY
Director Jerry Amante asked "the OCTA staff to bring to their next meeting "all" the concerns expressed by the cities for discussion. He also requested Alt. 3A be discussed with our Council and have the City reevaluate its position in light of this mitigation." It's unclear whether this "discussion" will be held in an open session so the public may participate or not.
OPPOSITION TO ALT. 3 STILL STRONG
According to Munoz, "The Board also requested elected representatives from the cities be present at subsequesnt meetings to voice their concerns. Seal Beach, Westminster, Fountain Valley and Los Alamitos expressed similar concerns as ours and reiterated their opposition to Alt. 3." All the cities expressed strong support for Alternative 2.
SCHEDULE OF IMPORTANT MEETINGS
Here is the schedule of the next several meetings at OCTA headquarters to address this issue:
All meetings are held at: (click on image to enlarge)
600 South Main Street
Orange, California 92868
Policy Working Group
August 22, 2012. 8 a.m. in Room 103
No public comment permitted. Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem plan to attend.
Stakeholders Working Group
August 23, 2012, 9 a.m. in Room 103
No public comment permitted. Will be chaired by Moorlach
Regional Planning and Highways
September 17, 2012, 10:30 a.m. in Board Room
Public comment allowed. Purpose is information dissemination
Board of Directors
September 24, 2012, 9 a.m. in Board Room
Public comment allowed. Board will select "Preferred Local Option"
You can review the history of this project and the timeline by visiting the OCTA website for this project HERE.
OCTA provided more updated information on this project on 8/17/12 HERE.