Letter: Rein In The Transportation Corridor Agency

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I am writing to you today to ask for your support in reducing a significant tax on all Orange County residents that often times goes unnoticed. Are you aware that the Transportation Corridor Agency (TCA) toll roads has taxed Orange County to the tune of $706,334,000 since the Agency was established in 1987. This tax comes in the form of development fees that are assessed on new residential and commercial properties developed within Orange County, a fee is paid to the TCA also for many remodels, driving up housing and business costs for the entire county.

The TCA was formed in 1987 with the explicit purpose of constructing the 73, 241 and 261 Toll Roads. At the time that the TCA was established bonds were issued to pay for construction of these new toll roads. The promise made by the TCA at the time was that the debt taken on by the TCA for construction of these new toll roads would be paid off through a combination of development fees and tolls collected on the roads by drivers who use the roads. 100% of the debt was to be paid off within 30 years and the toll roads were supposed to become freeways like the rest of the Interstate Highways in California.

As it turns out the TCA has horribly mismanaged their role and has squandered these silent taxes, tolls and penalties. Not only are the 73, 241 and 261 still toll roads and not freeways, but the TCA is still over $4.7 billion in debt for construction of these roads and the debt is growing in the wrong direction. This is a dereliction of duty and a travesty for Orange County taxpayers.  By the time the bonds are repaid it will cost $11 billion, the TCA needs to be shut down and OCTA collect the tolls and finally pay down the bonds. The TCA is wasteful and spent $35,000 for one dinner, they golf at $5,000 a round for for people. No government agency should be this out of control with spending, it is time they are held to account. Taxpayers deserve better.

Michelle Schumacher, San Clemente

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