One has to wonder how and why the TCA is so far off its course thinking they can become the planners for regional mobility after using Orange County residents as a piggy bank for the past 20 some years.
The TCA was to build for only local area benefit. The TCA has collected billions of dollars in Development Fees – AKA a TAX from Orange County residents and businesses. The Development Fees are collected any time a home or commercial space is constructed. Why when the TCA has not constructed anything in the past 20 years is it allowed to still collect these development fees?
Cal Trans maintains the toll roads, another way our tax dollars are used by the toll roads. In addition, several areas on the toll roads had problems when initially built and Cal Trans and US tax payers had to pick up the tab to fix. Ironically, the TCA claims often they do not use taxpayer dollars. The TCA is also the recipient of a 1.1 Billion Dollar tax payer bailout when they were going to go bankrupt and had junk bonds not so long ago.
We already pay dearly for transportation in California, and in Orange County we have the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) and Cal Trans. Why is the TCA a duplicative failed experiment allowed to continue?
The 73 was supposed to be free two years ago, instead due to failure to pay down the bonds the TCA has extended the period out many more years. Christina Shae, Irvine City Council member who sits on the TCA Board, told me the Toll Roads will never be free, I could not figure out if that is because it is clear the TCA has no intention of paying down the bonds or because they want to keep the cushy gig going.
Michael Kraman the CEO of the TCA just received a six percent retroactive pay raise. Really? Reward a CEO when the TCA has failed on every promise to the tax payers since inception? It is a rough life for those who have had to worry for over a year about their homes, businesses and children’s schools are under attack, however, since the TCA actively sponsors golf, galas and award banquets to say what a great job the mutual admiration society is doing, they are deaf to the concerns of poor soil not able to handle the proposals, the laws about how close you can have a toll road to a school.
The idea of a democracy and taxation with representation is also lost to the TCA. Dear TCA we are not in communist China, you can’t take what you want so your buddies can have really fat contracts, we have a constitution and last time I checked we still had a democracy.
The TCA in 2015 made neighborhoods and residents the last stakeholder on the list with their pals’ companies above. Enough is enough, it is time to strip the TCA of development fee collection powers and eminent domain powers, it is time they finally start to pay down the bonds instead of refinancing and extending the debt to the hilt. Imagine if the toll roads were free on the weekends when the traffic is at its highest – that would be a good start to mobility solutions.