Ruling Resurrects Prospects of Orange County Toll Road

Fri June 13, 2008 - West Edition

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif. (AP) A federal review has found a toll road proposed to run through a popular coastal state park in Orange County would not jeopardize sensitive wildlife species.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service spokeswoman Jane Hendron said May 5 that her agency reviewed nine endangered and threatened species. Some were found to be outside the road’s footprint in San Onofre State Beach. But in other cases — such as the Pacific pocket mouse — the toll road agency would be acting to help the species rather than hurt it.

The opinion resurrects the prospects of the 16-mi., $875 million toll road. The state Coastal Commission in February blocked its construction, citing environmental concerns.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies is appealing that decision.