Monday, August 30, 2010

Crazy Irvine-Corona Tunnel Plans Shelved

For background, RCTC and OCTA were cooking up an 11.5-mile megatunnel under the Cleveland National Forest that would provide 104 feet of traffic right-of-way between Irvine and Corona, along with a tunnel for unspecified rail service. It was slated to connect to the future Mid-County Parkway in Riverside County, and the Eastern Corridor Toll Road in Orange County. Over the last several years, we've spent a little over $7m in federal grant money studying the project.

Well, the study is over, and the agency in charge of the project has voted unanimously to scrap it. Turns out that the cost of the tunnels would run at a spendy $28.3 bn- keep in mind, that's half of the cost of the entire state's high speed rail system. Also, the toll-increment financing method that the agency wanted to use proved untenable. (Personally, I also want to remind OC pols that the last time they tried to build a toll road and count on toll revenues, it didn't work out so well.)

The remaining $7.5 million in grant money can be spent on projects in the CA-91 corridor. I can only hope that that might include expanded Metrolink or bus (216 and 794) service through the canyon... but who am I kidding? This is Orange County. That's freeway money.

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